Citizen science for rainbow lorikeets in northern NSW

By Rhonda Daniels, enewsletter editor

Lauren Bassett, a research assistant to Professor David Phalen with the University of Sydney, asked APS NSW to promote this opportunity.

We are planning a citizen science project in southern Queensland and northern NSW to identify the cause of Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome. This disease occurs in wild rainbow lorikeets and the birds become paralysed and unable to fly. Rainbow lorikeets with the disease require intensive care and long-term rehabilitation, draining the resources of both veterinarians and wildlife carers. The cause of this disease is unknown but is theorised to be due to a toxic plant that occurs in southern Queensland and northern NSW that the lorikeets are ingesting.  

Source: Chris Charles via Unsplash

What do rainbow lorikeets feed on?

The objective of the project is to collect observations from people in and around southern Queensland and northern NSW about the plant species wild rainbow lorikeets are feeding on to identify what plants or other food sources researchers should sample and further test.

Citizen scientists will need to send the location of the plant and three pictures (one of the whole tree/plants, one of the leaves, and one of the fruit/flower). However, to make this possible, photos of the plants sent in will need to be identified, either to genus or species level. 

Seeking members to identify plant species

Please disseminate information about the project to members within the study site. Once data is being received, we need individuals to help identify plant species. The project is being set up and will not be available to collect observations for potentially another month or two.  

More information

If you’d like to participate or know someone who would, please contact Lauren via email lbas9859@alumni.sydney.edu.au

Lauren can send more information or meet to discuss the project further.

Read more here: https://www.birdexoticsvet.com.au/factsheets/2020/6/6/lorikeet-paralysis-syndrome-lps