Parrots present a hazard in Murrumbateman

A visit from a flock of extremely rare superb parrots to Murrumbateman has taken on a bittersweet note over the last few days, with many of the birds being struck and killed by motorists. 

Dr Saan Ecker, an ecologist and member of the Burrinjuck Greens was extremely saddened by the death of many of the birds, which she described as “close to extinction.” 

“They’re a vulnerable species, they’re really quite rare,” Dr Ecker said. 

“Certainly in the 12 plus years that I’ve lived in the region, I’ve never seen one before, and I keep my eye out for birds.

“It’s quite an event.” 

Ms Ecker suspects that the birds, which are primarily found around Boorowa, Cowra, and Lachlan River area, ventured as far as Murrumbateman to feed. 

“They’re feeding on something on the side of the road, and I can only imagine that it’s a eucalypt seed,” Dr Ecker said. 

“I don’t really know, [but] they’re feeding on the side of the road.” 

It is not uncommon to see birds who have been struck by cars on the road, but one of the anomalies that Dr Ecker and others observing the parrots have noticed is the sheer volume being killed. 

The reason, Dr Ecker said, is that after a bird has been hit, others gather around it in what appears to be a state of mourning. 

“These birds are completely ignorant of the traffic,” she said. 

“They’re just sitting beside their dead friends or mates or parents or children or whatever they are, they’re just sitting beside them, and then they’re getting hit.”

In the case of a driver, Dr Ecker’s advice is “if you hit one, which can happen, that you pick up the dead and move it to the side of the road.” 

Some kindly residents have erected signage next to the road on which the birds have been hit, warning drivers to maintain an extremely low speed.