Mail surveys were sent to field staff of the Agriculture Protection Board of Western Australia to assess the distribution and status of four species of parrot in the agricultural region of south-west Western Australia in 1970, 1980 and 1990. The surveys indicated that the populations of the Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus) and the Western Rosella (Platycercus icterotis) have declined in range considerably since 1970. The populations of the Red-capped Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) and the Port Lincoln Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius) have suffered little or not at all during the same period. Factors which appear to have contributed to the observed changes in distribution and status include clearing for agriculture, dietary preferences, physiology, habitat requirements, altered fire regimes, grazing by exotic herbivores and reduced winter rainfall. These surveys have shown that species which were formerly considered common and widespread have declined with little comment having been made of these changes. The implications of this are serious, both for these formerly common species and for rarer bird species which have similar ecological requirements. The technique of mail surveys has considerable merit for quickly assessing the status of some species of birds, but will be limited by the expertise of the respondents and the degree to which the species in question can be observed.