Lovebirds reunite at Vic sewage plant

Hayley McKenna

After a 500-kilometre journey, two wild Orange-bellied parrots in love have reunited at a Melbourne sewage plant.

The migratory birds, weighing less than 50 grams each, welcomed three baby chicks in Tasmania four months ago.

The parrots then traversed Tasmania's west coast and the rough seas of Bass Strait separately, to find their way back to Werribee's Western Treatment Plant, where they first met, to reunite.

There are only about 50 Orange-bellied parrots in the wild and Victoria's environment department and Zoos Victoria are aiming to boost numbers of the critically-endangered population.

The lovebirds joined a flock of the parrots released from captivity last month as part of their project to save the species from extinction.

"It's very exciting to see the project's first Orange-bellied parrot couple unite," environment department project manager Rachel Pritchard said.

"With so few Orange-bellied parrots left in the wild, each and every parrot that makes the journey over Bass Strait is significant and keeps hopes of the species' survival alive."

Each year the birds spend summer in Tasmanian breeding grounds and autumn and winter feeding in coastal Victoria and South Australia.

Land in and around the Werribee plant is a well known bird sanctuary, offering a wide variety of food plants.

The Victorian government is investing $200,000 to protect the species' future.