June News: Night parrots and a collaboration…

Live night parrots discovered?

Earlier today, The Australian newspaper published the claim of wildlife filmmaker John Young about his recent discovery of a live night parrot somewhere in the wilds of western Queensland.

See: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/tweets-in-the-night-a-flash-of-green-is-this-our-most-elusive-bird/story-e6frg8y6-1226671683508

The last official night parrot was found in Diamantina National Park in far western Queensland in late 2006, and this specimen (and the one found in 1990) held at the Queensland Museum was the catalyst for my ongoing explorations of Australian birds, an investigation that also sparked my current PhD project on extinct Australian birds. The night parrot works listed here are from 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012,  exploring my own obsession with the mysterious bird…

The 2 birds depicted in the main image represent the last 2 confirmed critically-endangered night parrot specimens found prior to John Young’s recent 2013 discovery of live birds. The 1990 specimen (top bird) was found on the side of the road not far out of the W Qld town of Boulia, and the 2006 female specimen (bottom bird) was found decapitated below a barbed wire fence in the remote W Qld Diamantina National Park. Both birds were found in mummified conditions, the normally green and yellow feathers bleached brown and white by exposure to the hot outback sun.

The night parrot has been a repeated subject in my work since 2007 when first alerted to the birds existence with the arrival of the 2006 specimen to the Queensland Museum. Acolyte was made in response to my discovery of the work of John Gould and his famous Birds of Australia texts made in the 1800s. #11 (night parrot) was part of my Honours series SimulacraShe 2006was a study made in preparation for my Redlands Westpac Prize entry for 2012.  My eventual entry,  Reliquiae/collateral damage, made direct comment on the 2006 specimen, the site of its finding and its cause of death. The work also connected the role of human hands in the species’ demise due to territory encroachment, our unlimited resource consumption, and the European introduction of feral animals to Australia’s wild interior where the parrot lives. Feral cats are now considered the main threat to the ongoing existence of this ground nesting bird.

Night parrot update 3 July 2013:

Was invited to John Young’s presentation at the Queensland Museum today- the photos and video are very convincing. From what I have seen of specimens in the last 5 years, I think it proves he has seen a live night parrot. Can’t tell you how happy I was sitting there, watching it hop around on screen. Young and his associates on this project are keeping the location and the bird’s call confidential for now while they collect more data about the bird and figure out the way forward for conservation, protection, and feral cat threat management.

To get the main information presented today (minus the video unfortunately), see:


and  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-03/man-claims-to-have-filmed-the-rare-australian-night-parrot/4796342

A photo of the live bird can be seen at the following link: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/hes-not-dead-but-rare-night-parrot-nest-stays-secret/story-e6frg8y6-1226673955460

NB: The image at this link is exclusively copyrighted to John Young Wildlife Enterprises & The Australian, and cannot be posted here.

Last minute collaboration with Sibella Court of The Society Inc.

Stylist Sibella Court recently visited the Queensland Museum to undertake her Curators of cool project, and while there saw my painting Elegy (2009). Today she is hosting a workshop ‘The Historical Stylist’ which involves a stylist intervention at the historic Elizabeth Bay House, delving into its collections. The intervention includes 3 of my Lovesong (2013) series birds, and the work Still (endangered northern quoll)(2012). These paintings are still available for sale – all enquiries please contact James @ James Dorahy Project Space: james@jamesdorahy.com.au




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s