Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Simple enrichment can be just as enjoyable for the animals as many of the more involved enrichment devices and toys we work on. Browse—twigs, leaves, and branches—is a particular favorite of the lorikeets. For the health of the birds, the browse that we give them comes from an approved list of safe plants and has to be free of pesticides and other chemicals that can make the birds sick. After the browse has been approved by an aviculturist (bird biologist here at the Aquarium), it can be given to the lorikeets.
Why is this different from the plants the animals have in their exhibits all the time? The lorikeets love to nibble on plants and shred twigs and leaves. New browse is fresh, and when it’s a plant that’s not a normal part of their home, it has new textures, smells, and flavors to enjoy. When the lorikeets get fresh browse, it’s a lot of fun to watch them engage in all sorts of natural behaviors. Some of the birds look very curious, both about the new plants and about whether or not there may be something in the plants. The birds will strip the twigs of bark, clean their beaks on the browse, roll in the leaves, shred the browse with their beaks, or just drag it around. Sometimes it really is the simple things in life.
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