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Save the World’s Parrots - Video and Narration by Peter Odekerken

By Marie Stafford

Peter exhibits a truly professional and outstanding collection of video footage featuring parrots in the wild. This video is well balanced, with beautiful clips, information and mapped areas of his travels. It is a wonderful documentary, to be shared and enjoyed with the entire family. I would love to see more video, photos, and listen to stories of his adventures.

Congratulations to Peter for following his dream. Again, this is a great ensemble of visually pleasing footage! I urge you all to buy this video and spend an hour of your time marveling at the amazing creatures with which we are fortunate enough to share this planet.

The Message

In the end it will be easier to save the wild flocks of cockatoos / parrots NOW than to try to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Contribute to the cause, or take a trip to Australia and beyond, and make a difference!

An overview

A Red-vented Cockatoo © Peter Odekerken

The video begins in Brisbane with a flock of energetic, playful Short-billed Corellas, Galahs and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos flying en masse, and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos enjoying a drink from a muddy creek bed.

Next…The Kuhl’s Lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) in Rimatara is small, and vibrant in color. They are threatened and predated by the accidental introduction of the black rat that now inhabits the island. Peter shows extraordinary video footage of two Kuhl’s Lories playing in their nest tree.

The exquisite Tahitian Blue Lorikeet (Vini peruviana) is endemic to French Polynesia and the Cook Islands (AIT) and is pictured preening its mate. This mutual preening and playing is known to strengthen the pair bond, of which we see a lot in this video. These little birds feed by using the brushes on their tongues to reach the nectar and pollen.

The cockatoo which features on the cover of the DVD is a Red-vented Cockatoo, also known as the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), and is referred to by the locals on Rasa Island as Katala. This Cockatoo is critically endangered and has been protected by The Katala Foundation for over 10 years.

The wardens who protect and monitor the Red-vented Cockatoo are converted poachers, paid by the Katala Foundation from the Palawan Faunal Region. These men now make more money protecting this wild cockatoo than they did by trapping it. It is said that poachers made only $3.00 to $5.00 dollars for each cockatoo. Prior to protecting this cockatoo, it numbered only 20. Now the numbers have increased to 200! This has been made possible from overseas donations and fees charged for guiding eco trips to Rasa Island to a viewing tower to see this amazing bird. The Katala Foundation staff also educates school children and shows them how to conserve their local bird and the environment.

The wardens make their safety harnesses out of vines for tree climbing. A vine at each end is twisted to make it rope-like. The wardens wear no shoes and don’t appear to be harnessed as they climb up vines to reach the nest. When they reach the nest they secure themselves and lower the chicks in a straw basket. The parrots are checked for red mites and parasites, etc. Information and photos are taken for the foundations records. To me this climbing practice looks archaic and extremely unsafe!

This documentary is filled with marvelous sights of many species of parrots such as Crimson and Golden-mantled Rosellas, King Parrots, Fig Parrots, Golden-shouldered, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Red-rumped Parakeets - to name just a few. Interesting facts are also shared throughout the video - for instance, did you know that Lorikeets make very small nest openings, to minimize predation?

Some nests are used for 20+ years. Turquoise Parrots like to nest in stumps. However, feral cats and raptors have been known to predate them. It goes without saying that hollow trees should not be cut down, as they are used for roosting and breeding. It is interesting that Hooded Parakeets nest in termite mounds.

My dream bird to see in the wild is the Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami). The Glossy Blacks are pictured drinking at a waterhole just before nightfall. The female Glossy appears to have gold glitter sprinkled on her head. The male is even more impressive, being all black except for his prominent red tail bands.

A Yellow-tailed male Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) enters his nest first, to feed, followed by the female. Later the female bird stays with her chicks all night.

The Sunshine Coast - Queensland - has largely been cleared for pine plantations. Parrots still suffer under pressure of humans encroaching on their habitat. However, the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos in this area are still seen in 300-strong flocks.

Inverell - A Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is shown eating flowers for the nectar. The next scene is a videographer’s dream - it depicts a parent Sulphur-crested Cockatoo feeding two chicks at the nest entrance.

Sydney - A Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) is feeding on liquid amber. The female has a plain head, while the male has quite a bit of red on his, and a crest curl. Brush fires have destroyed a large amount of Gang-gang habitat.

Brisbane, Edith Falls – Rose-breasted Cockatoos (Cacatua roseicapilla) are shown in a large flock. They are from the Northern Territory and are smaller and paler than the nominate race.

Lorikeets are nectar feeding birds that only go to the ground for water. Likewise, Cockatiels spend little time at the waterhole, to avoid predation.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii) near Catherine, feed mostly above ground, but some are pictured feeding on the ground. The RTB’s are attracted to burnt areas for the seeds that release and ripen after the burn.

Cape York Peninsula - The still rare Palm Cockatoo is shown stamping its foot and displaying its wings.

The Eclectus Parrot – Studies have shown that more than one male can attend a female, and that the eggs in the nest can be fertilized by various males. The male Eclectus is green, the female primarily red.

This race of the Crimson Rosella Parrot leaves its nest with adult plumage - very pretty!

In Perth, the White-tailed Black Cockatoo - also known as Carnabys or Baudin’s Black Cockatoo - is vulnerable. The man-made water troughs help the cockatoos extend their range.

Port Lincolns are seen taking a bath. Peter points out an interesting fact that their beaks have a pinkish hue to them, which is indicative that they are juveniles.

Ua Huka Island has no rats, which is very lucky for the Ultramarine Lorikeet. Watch this video and see the Ultramarine eating out of a banana flower and sharing nectar with the bees.

Adelaide - Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos (Cacatua leadbeateri) live in dry habitats.

Cairns – Rainbow Lorikeets are seen feeding on the ground on flowers at the side of the road - a dangerous practice.

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to buy a copy of Save the World’s Parrots please contact Peter Odekerken at [email protected] The DVD costs US$35.00, including postage and handling.

Those attending our Symposium (13 - 15 May) will no doubt be delighted to hear that Peter will also be there, and he’ll have copies of his DVD to sell, so not only will you have the opportunity to buy one, but you’ll be able to meet Peter as well.

For information on Peter Odekerken’s DVDs, his guided tours, his publications, and his image library, please visit:


Marie Stafford, co-founder of Parrots International, has been enthusiastic about parrots for over 20 years! She and her husband, Mark, are devoted to their family of 16 companion parrots. It was their own parrots that sprouted their passion to initiate Parrots International. Through their travels, they realized the necessity for more conservation endeavors to maintain and preserve endangered parrot species and to protect the dwindling natural resources left on this planet.

The yearning to gain more knowledge led to observation, study and working on various PI related projects in the field: the Caribbean, Mexico and throughout South and Central America. The most recent project involved capturing and placing radio collar transmitters, banding, taking feather samples, weighing and measuring Slender-billed Conures in Chile.

Marie’s intensity and love for nature led her to preserving life-lasting memories through her camera. Over the years, many of her published wildlife photographs of parrots have helped raise money to support PI and deserving projects.

Her goal for co-chairing each year’s PI Symposium is the hope that attendees will gain new insights, share and exchange knowledge and walk away with a rejuvenated enthusiasm to do more…

The upcoming 6th Annual Parrots International Symposium on May 13-16, 2010, will include talks on conservation efforts and achievements, updates on ongoing projects, companion parrot care and behavior, veterinarian advances and concerns. It will also feature video and photographs of parrots in the wild. The past Symposiums have helped create a working forum between field teams and researchers.

Besides sharing a life of bold experiences and adventure travel with her husband, Marie is also the mother of two adult children and a Dental Office Manager
from 9 to 5.

blogs from the field - parrot conservation in real time