After the trip via the M5 tunnel to Mount Annan south-west of Sydney it was refreshing to see the large and well cared for grassland, gardens and bush remnants of the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan. This was a follow up (16 August) to reports that there were still Swift Parrots in the Banksia Garden at the park’s rear. There were indeed at least a dozen birds, feeding high in the eucalypts. They sped in small flocks of four or five through the trees and moved rapidly from flower to flower in keeping with their name.
Swift Parrots breed in Tasmania but travel north as far as Brisbane in winter, arriving in May and leaving for the trip south again in August. Their main food in Tasmania is nectar from blue gum flowers. Clearing of blue gum forest and old trees with nesting hollows threatens the future of these birds. An additional threat is predation by sugar gliders introduced into Tasmania in the 1800s. As a result, Swift Parrots are now listed as endangered and have an Environment Australia recovery plan.