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Australia’s Most Elusive Bird
For well over a century, the Night Parrot lured its seekers into Australia’s vast, arid outback. From the beginning it was a mystery bird. Fewer than 30 specimens were collected before it all but disappeared, offering only fleeting glimpses and the occasional mummified body as proof of its continued existence. Protected by spinifex and darkness, the parrot attained almost mythical status: a challenge to birdwatchers and an inspiration to poets, novelists and artists.
Night Parrot documents the competitiveness and secrecy, the triumphs and adventures of the history of the bird and its followers, culminating in the recent discovery of live birds at a few widely scattered locations. It describes what we are now unraveling about the mysteries of its biology and ecology and what is still left to learn. Complemented by guest essays, illustrations and photographs from a wide variety of sources, this book sheds light on Australia’s most elusive bird.
- The story of one of the most elusive and enigmatic birds in the world; the "Holy Grail" of birdwatching
- Documents the impact this mysterious bird has made on our society, drawing from an eclectic range of materials including scientific articles, newspapers and ephemera, art and literature, and historical images and accounts
- Author Penny Olsen is one of Australia’s leading ornithologists
Introduction: The call of the Night Parrot
A tangled nest of Night Parrot names
Getting to know the family: the molecular story by Leo Joseph
The very first ‘beautiful ground parrakeet’: Charles Sturt, John McDouall Stuart and John Harris Browne
Myrrlumbing: Frederick Andrews
Hunters of the long-lost Night Parrot: Samuel Albert White and Ethel Rosina White
Sclerolaena not spinifex: Shane Parker
Spinifex Parrot: Robert Austin, Albert Calvert and George Keartland
Mournful whistle: Martin Bourgoin
A concerted effort: the CALM campaign
The vanishing habitat of the Night Parrot in the Gascoyne and Murchison regions of Western Australia: lessons from historical records, land use and landscape processes by Peter Curry
Mallee Bird: Charles McLennan
New South Wales
Have you ever seen a Night Parrot?: W. Kelly
Fly-by-night: George Keartland, Lawson Whitlock & Co.
A frame-up: Sidney William Jackson
Bodies beside the road and a bird in the hand: Boles, Cupitt, Young & Co.
‘They say if enough are found’: Steve Murphy and John Young
Not the final chapter