Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Private Life of Parrots

Have you ever seen baby parrots, only a few days old, being fed by their mother? Did you know that parrots laying several eggs in a clutch begin incubating with the first egg, which means young hatch at different times and grow at different rates? If not, read on!

You might have seen my past news posts about Australian Ringnecks nesting inside artificial boxes before. Some have in fact just been reared in one of our nest boxes at Ardross Primary. I’ve photographed their eggs and various stages of chick growth for many years now (here’s one from 2011), but I’ve never shot any footage of behaviour inside the nest.

Today I inspected the large nesting box above, which was installed for Black Cockatoos in 2008, to make sure it was still securely attached to the tree. I didn’t know anything had been using it this year but when I peered inside I was surprised to see three tiny Australian Ringneck chicks huddled together in one corner, and a couple of as yet unhatched eggs. 

Here’s what they look like:

This discovery made me spring into action, and I quickly descended the tree to fetch my miniature HD video camera and a long stick on which to mount it. Then I set it up inside the nest chamber, which, as you can see, being designed for a large cockatoo, is more than adequately large enough for these small parrots:

With a 2 hour battery, I had plenty of chance to capture the female returning to brood, so left it recording and returned later this afternoon . . . . .

When I collected the camera and looked at the video files, I was extremely pleased to see the female ringneck had been caught on film with her chicks! Even though the box was a bit dark being naturally lit (I didn’t use any artificial lighting), the below video shows her behaviour quite well. You can see her suspicion of the camera in her nest as she looks at it curiously, before being nagged by her young to begin feeding. The size different in the (asynchronously hatched) chicks is also really obvious, with the largest of the brood probably 3 days ahead of his very tiny little sibling.

Keep watching this post for more updates of this Australian Ringneck family, nesting high above a Parkerville road in an artificial hollow built for cockatoos!

Ringnecks from Simon Cherriman on Vimeo.

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