Landholders and country communities celebrate superb parrot conservation

Farmers and residents of central and southern NSW celebrate milestones of the Saving our Superb Parrot project – which is showing no signs of slowing down!

Superb parrot (Polytelis swainsonii)

Over the last five years, the superb parrot has grown to near-celebrity status across central and southern NSW thanks to the Saving our Superb Parrot project, along with involvement from the local community. The project, which is coordinated by Saving our Species (SoS), involves 8 community and partner organisations, including five Landcare groups in the Lachlan catchment.

The project has worked on public and private land to plant more than 4250 new trees, most with steel mesh stock guards, protect more than 60 mature paddock trees and fence and reserve more than 300 hectares of remnant vegetation fenced for habitat.

While it’s great to celebrate all the work and achievements accomplished so far, South East Threatened Species Senior Team Leader Dr. Damon Oliver says there’s still plenty to be done, and the project is showing no signs of slowing down.

Community input and support is vital

Damon OliverDamon says the superb parrot project is a great example of what can be achieved when there are strong, local collaborations.

“It has showcased how well government and community partnerships can work, by bringing together different skills and passions in the community to help save threatened species.”

He says the groups involved in the project have provided substantial ‘in-kind’ contributions, and clever ways to find efficiencies with limited resources to make the greatest possible positive impact for the species.

“For example, farmers have found innovative ways to get the greatest number of tree guards out of a roll of steel mesh, which means the project has been really cost-effective.”

Tracee Burke, landholder and Mid Lachlan Landcare co-ordinator, says more support is always needed as are of course more trees on more and she’s glad there has been significant enthusiasm for the project so far.

“Our Landcare group committed to plant 500 new scattered paddock trees throughout 21 farms in the Cowra Canowindra region and what we’ve actually achieved is 1212 trees across 35 properties.

“We’ve provided 242% more than what we committed to in the first place and that is due to our amazing community getting behind this project.”

Win-win for sustainable agriculture, conservation and communities

Landcare group spotting superb parrots (Polytelis swainsonii)Tracee is keenly aware of how special it is to see superb parrots, with fewer than 5000 breeding pairs estimated to remain the wild and the ongoing loss of old habitat trees.

"I think that the superb parrot has a lot of support from landholders around here because we actually see it quite regularly; it arrives every year around September and people want to do everything they can to make sure they will hear it and see it in the future forever."

The tree plantings and habitat protection works aimed at the superb parrot will also help local communities through the purchasing of materials as well as agricultural productivity, something Tracey Burke sees on her farm.

”Scattered paddock trees are very important in the landscape, they provide shade and shelter for livestock, allowing the animals to cool down or warm up if they need to. It can lead to better welfare and productivity of the animals.”

“While doing these projects on our farms may not contribute a huge amount to our bottom line and our profitability, it contributes a huge amount to our wellbeing, feeling of community and looking after the land we steward for the future.”

The Saving our Superb Parrot project is a partnership between the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program, Boorowa Community Landcare Group, Hovells Creek Landcare Group, Upper Lachlan Landcare, Mid Lachlan Landcare, LachLandcare, Greening Australia, Cowra Woodland Birds and National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW.