Hundreds of hours have been spent researching the likely locations and patiently waiting to capture that special footage. Peter Odekerken has travelled through remote areas of the Rasa Island in the Philippines, Rimatara Island near Tahiti, Aitutiki in the Cook Island group and French Polynesia to record the wild habits of the highly endangered Red-vented Cockatoo and the Philippine Cockatoo, the colourful Khuli and the rare Ultramarine and Tahiti Blue Lorikeets. The Vini group of lorikeets are under threat primarily as a result of predation by the Black Rat. The Red-vented Cockatoo is under protection on Rasa Island—the main breeding area. Wardens monitor the nest sites vigilantly and this has resulted in an increase from 20 to 200 individuals. Conservation groups and individuals are supporting this success in the long-term. Peter presents details on the conservation activities and education measures that the Katala Foundation project is undertaking to improve the wild status of the Red-vented Cockatoo on Rasa Island.
Travelling to every corner of Australia, Peter has captured some real insights into the feeding, mutual preening and bonding behaviours, nest rearing and everyday habits of numerous species—Yellow-tailed, Carnaby’s White-tailed, Glossy and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Galahs, Gang Gangs and the majestic Palm Cockatoo are a sight to view in their various habitats around Australia.
Smaller endemic parrots featured include Little, Musk, Red-collared and Rainbow Lorikeets, the rare Golden-shouldered Parrot and the Turquoisine, Red-rumped, Crimson-winged, King and the Eclectus Parrots, as well as Marshall’s Fig Parrots in the Iron Range and Port Lincoln Parrots.
Western Australian forms of the Long-billed Corella and the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo G. l. mollis are filmed drinking and bathing at waterholes and sitting and entering tree nest sites—including some internal nest footage. Colourful Crimson Rosellas feed in the Atherton Tablelands and the shy Western Rosella feeds warily, conscious of Peter’s presence.
Peter’s message, while preserving what may be a rare record of some of these species in the wild in the future, is to focus on the plight and pressure under which wildlife are placed, while also highlighting the wonderful characters and intelligence of the parrot family.
Another of Peter’s superb armchair travels through the world of parrots.
Reviewed by Sheryll Steele-Boyce