Community groups, Grants, Hobart/Kingborough, News

Fair Go for Swifties – Unwanted: The Rainbow Lorikeet!

Volunteers have been busy constructing and painting 50 nesting boxes for rainbow lorikeets, as part of a naturally inspired grant project run by Sustainability Learning Centre and Hobart College.  The project has also received support from an Inspiring Australia Public Science Events Grant.

The invasive rainbow lorikeet population in Kingborough is increasing, and it is also slowly extending its range.  The species aggressively competes with native birds such as the Green Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Musk Lorikeet and the critically endangered swift parrot for tree hollows, impacting on the survival of swift parrot nestlings.

Dr Dejan Stojanovic, a conservation biologist with Australian National University, is leading the campaign to save the critically endangered swift parrot.  As well as posing a threat to swift parrots, the rainbow lorikeet can also pose a serious problem to farmers, vineyards and orchardists.   At this early stage, while population numbers are still low, eradication of this pest species is a real possibility.  This collaborative citizen science project involving local schools, the broad community and guided by experts, will hopefully ensure success.

Dr Stojanovic helped design the nesting box, specifically to trap the rainbow lorikeet which will then be humanely destroyed by local veterinarians.

A recent workshop held to celebrate World Environment Day, attracted many people to learn about the project and to start making nesting boxes. Students from Kingston High School have also been involved in constructing boxes.   Hobart College technology students and staff have developed an innovative closure design for the nesting boxes which includes remote sensing devices to detect nest box activity. Cameras will also be utilised to collect visual data.  Citizen scientists will make field observations and monitor nesting boxes utilising innovative door closure mechanism sensing devices and data base.

NRM South’s Naturally Inspired Grants are provided through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

For further information about the project, or to get involved, contact Jenny Dudgeon at the Sustainability Learning Centre Jenny.Dudgeon@education.tas.gov.au

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