I run field projects in evolutionary and conservation biology, often in remote and difficult conditions. Over the last 18 years I have run a research program on Cape York Peninsula to study the remarkable Eclectus Parrot and Palm Cockatoo. The skills we developed on our Cape York program, including surveys by ground and air, aerial radio-tracking, tree-climbing, and catching parrots, together with specialist analytical techniques such as population viability analysis, left us ideally poised to work on difficult Tasmanian and other bird species that have long been left in the ‘too hard basket’. The recent research of my group has revealed major threats to Tasmanian birds, and substantially added to the body of information available for critically endangered nomadic species such as the regent honeyeater. Through our intensive field research and communication with the government and general public our aim is to continue to draw attention to the species most at risk from extinction, and to conduct research targeted at pulling these species back from the ‘brink’ before it is too late.