Just add water: when the rain comes, the boom starts for Australian birds | Mick Roderick

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These birds have adapted to be guided by conditions, not season. It is wonderful to witness

Many people think that budgerigars are only found in cages. More people think that they are blue. The truth couldn’t be farther away on both accounts. These flamboyant but diminutive lime-green parrots are the quintessential example of having freedom to roam, which is exactly what they do in the vast island continent of Australia. They occur naturally nowhere else in the world. And if you live in New South Wales and want to see them for yourself without having to venture into the central deserts, now is the time.

The Australian environment is known for its “boom-bust” cycle of nature, largely based on the vagaries of inland rainfall. Whereas other continents experience more predictable climate and rainfall patterns, Australia’s climate is far more irregular. Hence when the rains do come at the end of a prolonged dry (bust) period, the boom starts.

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