At the end of May, what we thought was a solitary, juvenile King Parrot appeared in our Blue Mountains garden. I shared a photo of the bird we named Max, and a couple of people in a bird group suggested he wasn’t young, and that his oddly coloured feathers could be a symptom of a chronic condition called feather and beak disease. I did some research on-line, and yes, yellow feathers on a king parrot are the first clinical signs of the horrible, usually fatal condition.

King parrot with beak and feather disease.

He disappeared and we thought he had joined a visiting flock. Now this would not have been good, because the disease can easily spread.

A couple of weeks went by and we realized he hadn’t gone at all. He has been living alone in a very small area at the end of our drive. The copse of trees includes an English oak, which so far has provided him with food.

Max breakfasting on an acorn

We assumed he was finding water in nearby Popes Glen creek, but then we spotted him drinking from a shallow ceramic dish. Fortunately it’s one other birds never seem to use, and we change the water often. But I do worry about cross infection.

Max’s water dish.

The poor little fellow can fly, but not very well. He doesn’t appear to have a full set of tail feathers. Here he is up in the bare Japanese maples, enjoying the winter sun.

King Parrot in winter sun.
The comfort of sunshine.

Pictured below is the rest of Max’s little domain in the front corner of the garden He often climbs up the tall redwood tree to a height of about 30 feet using his beak and claws. I guess it provides better cover for him during the day than the deciduous maples. Would he be vulnerable to attack from a currawong? It just doesn’t bear thinking about.

A refuge for Max

Poor little Max, we don’t quite know what to do about him. It would be impossible to catch him.

We have never fed birds, but if Maxie runs out of acorns I will be tempted to hide something in his little area. Oh dear, what a dilemma!

2 Comments
  1. research online what parrots can eat , fruit etc but not seed. let nature take its course but you can feed him good fruits and nuts because a lot of people do. he would learn to come down when you approach. but i wouldn’t catch him, definitely not.

    • Pauline

      We know what King Parrots eat Sally, but we are reluctant to put food out for Max as it would risk spreading the disease into the healthy population.

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