Sunday, September 27, 2009

Water bought to rescue rare parrots

A GROUP of conservationists have pitched in to buy water to protect habitat for the threatened regent parrot species.

A small number of Nature Foundation SA supporters donated money to buy 6.8ML of water to save thirsty river red gums at Hogwash Bend, near Waikerie, on the River Murray.

The water was pumped through a sprinkler system at four different sites over the winter months.

River red gums provide the largest nesting site for regent parrots.

There are fewer than 500 breeding pairs of the threatened species left in the state.

Nature Foundation SA special projects consultant Angela Hawdon said it was important to protect the regent parrots' habitat.

"The birds nest in the hollows of river red gums within 60m of the water," she said. "By watering trees, we hope to increase their leaf cover and keep the trees alive for longer, and continue to provide a food source for the birds during their nesting period from August to December each year."

A further 6ML of water has been donated to the Hogwash Bend project to be used over spring to ensure the trees are leafy during nesting season.

The Riverland West Local Action Planning Association has provided the watering with a sprinkler system that has been moved around four different sites at Hogwash Bend.

The association's Anna Reid said keeping the river red gums alive would provide a corridor to the Mallee for the parrots.

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