Native Animal Welfare

Outback sees biggest budgie event in 10 years

Thousands of brilliant budgerigars are flocking to the Australian outback thanks to perfect breeding conditions across the country.

Mark Carter, Alice Springs bird watcher and trained zoologist, said that the region has not had a budgie event this big in 10 years.

“There was an event in 2016 which was localised to certain areas,” Mr Carter said

“This event involves huge number of birds across the landscape,” he said.

Mr Carter said it was hard to comprehend how many birds there were out there at the moment.

“If you do the maths on how many budgies are out there across the landscape, it’s mind-boggling,”

He said that there are a few factors as to why the numbers have exploded.

“It’s a combination of things: We had rain at the perfect time here and they bred up in other parts of Australia and gathered here,” he said.

Mr Carter said that those budgies subsequently have stayed and continued to breed resulting in extraordinary numbers across the region.

He said that there was an abundance of food thanks to low cattle numbers and the budgies have “cashed in on that”.

“The amount of grass seed out there has helped.

“I really do think that it was that the fact that the grass wasn’t being eaten straight away, it was allowed to seed,” he said.

Natural wonders of the world

At dawn, budgies are flocking in their thousands to drink at water holes or dams across the red centre.

“It’s got to be one of the most iconic sights in the outback… one of the great natural wonders of the world is these huge budgie flocks,” he said.

Mr Carter said that these parrots were very intelligent were at their most vulnerable when they were drinking.

“They feel a lot of safety in numbers.

“Any predator that decides to turn up here to try an ambush, [the budgies] have got a real advantage.”

He said that budgies were extremely paranoid.

“They’re in this group, they’re really relying on the birds around them to spot trouble.

“If a bird of prey does come through and give them a fright, they react in the blink of an eye.”

Once the food resources start to dwindle, the numbers of budgies will drop.

“The budgies are just going to move on. They’re going to go and look for pastures new.”

Image: Budgies are at their most vulnerable when drinking in the early morning.(ABC Alice Springs: Emma Haskin)

Source: ABC News