Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters, we hit our target in 1 day!!! I don't know if that's some kind of record, but it sure feels like one!!!
Now thanks to this support, we can start building the PKOs tomorrow and getting them ready for all the parrots that move into our boxes. Any extra money we can raise will help to buy additional nest boxes, and go towards sustaining the huge cost of maintaining the work we do for difficult birds.
Even though we've hit the target, please support our campaign and keep the donations coming- every extra dollar is a dollar that will go toward protecting our most endangered birds!
Difficult Bird Research Group
We need your help to equip 100 Swift Parrot nest boxes with a 'Possum Keeper Outter' (PKO)
We've been busy at the Difficult Birds Research Group. Remember when you helped us in 2015 to raise money to buy nest boxes for the critically endangered swift parrot? It was a great success and we found more swift parrot nests last year than we have in any previous year of monitoring- see here for more details. Last year, we raised funds for an emergency intervention to help the orange-bellied parrot, which was also a success. This year, we are coming to you again, to follow up on our work with swift parrots and nest boxes.
Swift parrots move each year to a new breeding area in Tasmania depending on where the most abundant food is. This year things have changed, and the swift parrots have settled the east coast of mainland Tasmania. Unfortunately, introduced sugar gliders (the main predator of swift parrots) are common on the Tasmanian east coast. We're very concerned that parrots will be eaten by sugar gliders this year. Birds have already begun to arrive in nesting areas where sugar gliders occur, and are busily looking for nests - it's a matter of a week or two before birds begin to nest.
We've been working hard to try and figure out how to protect swift parrots from sugar gliders in nest boxes. We've designed and trialled a new device called the 'Possum Keeper Outter' (PKO). PKOs are a mechanical door, triggered to open by light, allowing the parrots to go about their business in the day. The PKO shuts at night, locking the gliders out and keeping the parrots safe inside nest boxes. We trialled PKOs on swift parrots last year to check if the birds are disturbed by the PKO, and we were thrilled to find they didn't mind the machinery at all. Based on those results, we're ready to mobilise PKOs across danger-zones for swift parrots on the Tasmanian mainland.
We need your help to raise enough money to equip 100 nest boxes with a PKO. We need to act quickly because birds are already looking for places to nest. We've got a great headstart, because volunteers from the Victorian Tree Industry Organisation have already helped us deploy 100 boxes at likely nesting locations, but we urgently need to build 100 PKOs to accompany every box to keep the parrots safe from predators. That's why we're going for a short campaign, to quickly get the funds we need to build the PKOs in time for the breeding season in a couple of weeks.
100% of the budget will be spent on monitoring and protecting breeding swift parrots this season. PKOs will be attached to nest boxes that we've already deployed in potential breeding areas of swift parrots.
PKOs don't come cheap, as they require batteries, solar panels, light sensors and a motor (plus a range of other bits and pieces like screws, waterproof casing and cables).
Each PKO costs $400 by the time it is deployed on a nest box in swift parrot breeding sites.
We have 100 boxes that need PKOs, so our funding target is $40,000.
Any money in excess of our target will go towards supporting our work on saving the swift parrot by purchasing additional nest boxes to replace those that get a bit worn out, and to support our other difficult birds like the orange-bellied parrot and regent honeyeater.
Our main challenge is timing. Some early arriving swift parrots have already begun to look for nests in locations where they are at risk of sugar glider predation, and more birds are arriving at these breeding areas every day looking for places to nest. We've already deployed 100 nest boxes in these areas to try and encourage parrots to use boxes that can be protected with PKOs, and some birds are looking interested in the new real estate. Now all we need is to build the PKOs so they're ready to deploy as soon as the birds move in. We have about two weeks before we expect the busiest time for nesting begins, so we need to act fast.