As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Oldest known orange-bellied parrot makes welcome return to Tasmanian breeding ground

Updated Tue at 6:40am

Blue/black F, believed to be the oldest orange-bellied parrot in the wild, has defied the odds to make it back to Tasmania to breed.

The nine-year-old bird was hatched and raised in southern Tasmania, and has crossed Bass Strait about 20 times.

Each summer, the species migrates from the Victorian and South Australian coast to Melaleuca in south-west Tasmania to breed.

Last year's migration was the most dismal on record, with only 17 wild birds — 13 males and just four females — returning.

In some rare good news for the species, Blue/black F was recently spotted back at Melaleuca.

Consultant ornithologist Mark Holdsworth said he was surprised the bird had survived.

"He is in his 10th year, and that is getting right to the end of the oldest birds known to have lived in the wild," he said.

"It is really quite exciting that he has made it through for another year. Quite frankly, I was not expecting it."

Mr Holdsworth said the bird's average life expectancy was about three years.

Given the high casualty rate, researchers have taken to assigning birds non-affectionate names — such as Blue/black F — to avoid getting too attached.

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