Auckland Department of Conservation Officer Paul Keeling is asking Warkworth residents to keep a sharp lookout for blue headed Australian rainbow lorikeets.
The request for information follows several reports that a small flock of lorikeets may have moved in to the Warkworth Area. This is not the first time the birds have been reported in the area, although all the earlier reports have later proved to be eastern rosellas, which are quite numerous throughout Northland.
The Department of Conservation has been undertaking a live lorikeet capture program since late 1999. The aim is to remove former caged birds that were released deliberately.
“If lorikeets were to become established in the wild we believe that they would pose a threat to native birds, through competition for nest sites and nectar,” said Mr. Keeling
“ It is imperative that we remove the remaining birds as soon as possible while the numbers are low and before they become too widespread. The success of the operation to date suggests there is a high likelihood this goal will be achieved.”
“The actual trapping is not particularly difficult,” according to Project Manager Art Polkanov. “However locating the birds is where we rely heavily on the public for sightings and information.
“A flock of sixteen lorikeets was recaptured late last year on the Whangaparaoa peninsula. Given the lorikeets’ flying range this makes it quite feasible that a group may have moved further north in search of food and nest sites for the summer period.
“The lorikeets bright colors and high-pitched whistle like call makes them quite conspicuous. If you have six or so ‘lories’ flying overhead or feeding near your house you will know about it. They are most vocal in the early morning and evening which means that they tend to wake people up and disturb their after work relaxation time.”
How you can help? If you think you have seen rainbow lorikeets in the wild, note the time, place, number of birds and what they were doing and if feeding, what type of tree/vegetation they are living in/feeding on. Also note head color, lorikeets have a blue head.
If you wish to report sightings, please phone the Department’s Auckland Area office on 09-445 9142