Swifty: The super-fast parrot by Stephanie Owen Reeder. Illus. by Astrid Hicks

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Critically endangered Swift parrots, of which there may be only 750 left in the wild, are the focus of this striking new factual fiction release written by Stephanie Owen Reeder. Told in a simple, yet informative story, the reader is drawn to the fledgling named Swifty as they follow her journey from birth to maturity.

Born during spring and summer in the hollow of an ancient Tasmanian blue gum tree, Swifty begins her life alone with her mum after the other two hatchlings have been taken by an introduced predator, the sugar glider. Swifty grows and prepares to follow the blossom trail on the migration from Tasmania to mainland Australia. The journey is over 250 kilometres non-stop over the Bass Strait. This migration is dangerous for the swift parrots as they may encounter high winds that can blow them off course as well as when arriving on land in danger from predators including domestic cats, feral animals and other more aggressive birds.

Swift parrots fly at almost 80 kilometres per hour making them one of the fastest parrots in the world. However, as Swifty quickly learns, glass doors and windows can be highly dangerous! Fortunately, Swifty is rescued, rehabilitated, and released into the wild to continue on her journey.

In the final pages, there are facts about the swift parrot, how they can be helped, and a glossary explaining the words in bold used throughout the text. Swifty is another wonderful book that provides younger readers with the opportunity to learn about one of Australia’s critically endangered birds through an engaging story. The stunning endpapers and glossy illustrations by Astrid Hicks perfectly complement the text and offer the reader so much to explore on each page.

Teacher resources are available.

Themes: Swift Parrots, Migrations, Animal Conservation, Australian Birdlife, Survival, Critically Endangered Species.

Kathryn Beilby