Long-Billed Corellas Cacatua-tenuirostris in a Rocky backyard.
Long-Billed Corellas Cacatua-tenuirostris in a Rocky backyard.

Could bushfire crisis be behind rare bird sighting in CQ?

BACKYARD intruders are typically not something a homeowner wishes to encounter.

But for one Rockhampton birdwatcher, two uninvited guests had her running for her camera with good reason.

In her spare time, Maxine Stevens spends hours researching different bird species, so when two long-billed corellas perched upon a tree in the yard of her Kawana home last month, she was excited to say the least.

"It was a lovely surprise, very rewarding, exhilarating in fact," she said.

Ms Stevens noticed the birds thanks to their distinct white cockatoo appearance and short orange crests, stocky bodies and long beaks.

The reason behind the novice birdwatcher's delight was due to the pair's location. The species is typically found in the southeast states of Australia.

The rare sighting near Rockhampton means the birds could have travelled as far as 2500km from their natural habitat.

"They were very relaxed. I don't have any pets, so I think they felt very comfortable to come in and say hello," she said.

Ms Stevens said the recent bushfires which devastated Australia could be a contributing factor for the visit.

"I think they might be up here because they got frightened from the fires," she said.

"They could have been disorientated and needed to get away from all the smoke.

Award-winning Rockhampton nature photographer Keith Ireland agreed that Australia's changing climate could be why the animals relocated.

"Birds shift, especially with dry weather, and when you get droughts and fires happening, they'll spread far and wide," he said.

Though he could not say for sure whether the recent bushfires were the definitive reason.

Instead, he believes it possible that the birds escaped from a residential cage nearby.

"It's hard to say. I don't know, only because the bushfires are everywhere," he said.

Mr Ireland advised the public against feeding the animal unless it's seeds, however suggested a safer option of leaving water instead.


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