White Bird Tryptych; studies of a dead Long-billed Corella
Price: 13,000.00 AUD
Three panels 36 X 56 cm, watercolour on paper, signed and dated left panel, lower left; Trusler 1988 Painted at a time when the Corella "wars" were in full swing. The Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris was considered scarce post World War Two and the world population of an estimated 6000 birds was confined predominately in the Western District with Hamilton, Coleraine and Casterton as the epicentre. From the 1970's onwards the population expanded dramatically, very much due to the bird's new-found ability to exploit the South African introduced Onion Grass Romulea rosea and successful rabbit eradication programs. Onion Grass became associated with cereal crops and grows from a corm; it's this bulb that Long-billed Corellas are ideally suited to extract. From this acquired behaviour, they learned to eat commercial grain crops. Western district farmers became increasingly agitated from the 1970's onwards with the damage the birds were doing and there were many angry local meetings with representatives from Fisheries and Wildlife. Destruction permits were issued and legal trapping of birds for the cage bird market was allowed. The unfortunate consequence of live bird trapping resulted in a quickly flooded market with birds being released outside their core range. There are now populations of Long-billed Corellas in most parts of Victoria, including Melbourne, and New South Wales as far north as Sydney. This picture is symbolic of the clash between a native animal and human interests. See Emison, W. B. et al. The biology and status of the Long-billed Corella in Australia. Camarillo: Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, 1994. THE ARTIST: Peter Trusler (born 1954) is best known for his wildlife art, including his scientifically rigorous reconstructions of prehistoric fauna. He did undergraduate zoology at Monash University from 1972-74 and recently completed a PhD. He is well known for his portrait paintings and landscapes. His artwork is featured in numerous books and scientific publications and several of his paintings are held in the National Library of Australia. In 1993 his work appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, and he has produced three Australia Post stamp series. His paintings have also appeared in scientific exhibitions, including displays at the Melbourne Museum and the "Wildlife of Gondwana" exhibition at the Monash Science Centre in Melbourne, Australia.