1997 was a turning point in the life Dr. Stewart Metz. Until then, he had followed the typical route for a physician practicing Medicine in the university setting—seeing patients; doing research in Diabetes; teaching; and Administrative work. Eventually he became Head of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes as a Tenured Physician at the renowned University of Wisconsin-Madison, with about 130 research publications under his belt. But he sensed, increasingly, that something important was missing—and that ‘something’ was parrots. In 1993, he recognized that passion, which grew by leaps and bounds with the acquisition of China, a very special Salmon-crested cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis). But in 1997, when he turned to the then-fledgling Internet, he found only a striking paucity of knowledge about these cockatoos, which were endangered in the wild. So in 2000, he became a member of the Indonesian Parrot Project (originally called “Project Bird Watch”) and in 2002 became the Director of the project. This NGO is a small, all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of endangered Indonesian parrots, including the Salmon-crested cockatoo.
Recently released genetic research from CSIRO and New Mexico State University in the US is helping scientists better understand how Australian birds evolved. The researchers found that the tiger-parrots of New Guinea's rainforests -- named for their striped or barred plumage -- are not, as has been widely accepted, closely related either to a group of rosella-like parrots found in Australia and Oceania, nor a similar group found in Asia and Africa.
On Sunday 22 May they will assist Tweed Shire Council in a bid to learn more about the distribution, habitat use and population numbers of the threatened glossy black cockatoo.
The birding day is an initiative supported by the Glossy Black Conservancy and its partner agencies.
Ornithologists at the University of Birmingham have discovered that parrots cannot see what they are doing when they carry out the tricky manipulations of objects, for which they are renowned. While parrots have a good field of vision in front, above and behind their head, they cannot see below their bill into the region where all the manipulation occurs. The research is published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.