Tuesday, April 15, 2008
For a few weeks earlier this year, we had no colorful Lorikeets to visit, because of the start of construction of a new exhibit directly behind the back side of Lorikeet Forest, and I have to tell you that I missed the little guys!
Lorikeet Forest was closed because of all the digging they were going to be doing for the watershed exhibit, as the dust such work creates is not good for our feathered friends. So they were kept behind the scenes, except for some of the younger ones that were born here and kept on display in a large enclosure next to the one of Lola the Sulfer Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita).
When I was in Lorikeet Forest on my first chance back in after it opened, I had fun watching people interact with the birds and remembering some of the more comical or interesting moments that I’ve spent with them and guests myself.
One time a little boy was fascinated with one particular lorikeet, which was perched on my arm. He wanted to know specifically which species of bird I held. I’m not good at remembering who’s who, as it were, but with the help of our visitor’s guide, which he had handy, we saw a picture that enlightened us as to its species, which was that of a Green Nape lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus haemotodus). Once learning this information, the boy seemed satisfied, then he thanked me, and went off with his school group. I was pretty impressed at his interest in knowing the specifics.
Another time a young girl of about 10 was feeding one of our colorful little birds when it suddenly stuck out one claw and, aided by its beak, grabbed the little plastic nectar cup that the girl was holding. It then stuck its beak inside the cup and started drinking, holding it with the claw. I swear, it looked almost human and it was quite funny all at the same time!
“That little turkey,” the girl’s father said with a chortle, while the child appeared a little perturbed. The man then turned to the grabby bird, saying: “You’re a smart one, aren’t you? You learned!” Then the lorikeet dropped the cup, which landed upright, with some nectar remaining inside.
The man picked it up and offered it back to the same bird, which again grabbed it and finished off the nectar, then tossed the cup aside and started moving around in what appeared to be an impromptu and quite entertaining jig. It was almost like a victory dance for having grabbed the cup away from humans!
Yet another time there, a man and woman were trying to feed the birds. With a Lorikeet on one arm, the man held out a nectar cup and the bird sipped away happily. The woman in the meantime, tried to find a second bird so that she could feed it with the cup she held in her hand, and it was not long before she was successful and stood happily with a Lorikeet on her arm as well.
However, the bird that the man was feeding–I’ll call it “Big Guy” since he was a bit portly compared to the rest–immediately shooed the bird away from the woman’s arm, and then proceeded to drink nectar from the cup she had offered to the previous drinker. But then, as soon as another bird approached the man’s nectar cup, “Big Guy” immediately shooed that bird away, then started drinking from that cup!
“Big Guy” kept doing this over and over again, entertaining us tremendously in the process. The man did lecture “Big Guy”, though, telling him that that he was being a touch rude about the whole thing. What a glutton! “Big Guy” didn’t seem to mind being berated for his behavior. Instead, he just kept right on sipping nectar, continuing to keep watch to make sure that no other birds took sips from what he obviously felt were “his” nectar cups!
Come visit Lorikeet Forest and be entertained yourself. Maybe I’ll see you there soon!
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