Just a few years ago, things weren’t looking good for the Regent Parrot, a bird native to Australia. Their numbers had dwindled to a mere 500 individuals.
But last year, a survey spotted more than 1,600 Regent Parrots in Northwest Victoria alone, which delighted both birdwatchers and scientists alike.
The discovery was accidental. Dr. Mark Antos and his team noticed a large flock of birds flying overhead and decided to check it out. They ended up counting 140 individuals in said flock.
“This is pretty spectacular,” Dr. Antos recalls thinking at the time. “So we ended up going back the next afternoon and did it a bit more rigorously.”
It was at that time they counted 1,600, more than triple the number of parrots thought to exist in Victoria.
So why the sudden increase in parrot numbers? Part of it is due to habitat protection, but researchers think that exceptional rainfall may be a contributing factor.
This extra rainfall caused a more robust breeding season for the parrots.
“So this is probably influenced by recent weather events, where we’ve had good rainfall over winter and spring,” said Dr. Antos.
“And also due to the floods and environmental flows that we’ve had on the Murray River, where they actually nest.”
The Regent Parrot is yet another animal making a stunning comeback from the brink of extinction. It goes to show that when we focus our attention on doing good work, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.