Been away from home for the last few weeks, only a short distance but far enough to note the change in visitors. I had a flock of hoodlum Sulphur-crested cockatoos shout their way across the blue sky on two days. I admit I preferred their noise to the small helicopter that passed through their flight path shortly after. Somehow their noisy flight didn’t feel like trespass.
Back home, last week briefly, when I was called outside by the screech of a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets. It was not their screech in particular that made me go out, but the loud song of a currawong and the bully caw of our crows. Sure enough the big predators were after a lorikeet sandwich. Well, it's a bird-eat-bird world out there, but not today boys. The big birds had boxed in the lorikeets in the foliage of the Tulip Tree, which had attracted the parrots with a few blossoming flowers in the upper canopy. My big human presence sent the ever cautious currawongs and crows off and the lorikeets kept right on screeching as they ripped the flowers apart while giving me the evil eye. Never let a bit of life threatening danger stop a good feed. I never said lorikeets were cute. Pretty yes; cute, no. They are an aggressive species and will out compete native birds in bushland. Anyway, that day they lived to screech another day.
I remember hand feeding lorikeets a honey and water solution from plates at Currumbin wildlife sanctuary down the Gold Coast—a big tourist draw. I assume they still do it. Lorikeets have a feathered tongue and are nectar feeders, so imagine the surprise of biologists when they observed them feeding on insects. Just goes to show, humans don’t know everything. Anyway last week's pair of lorikeets dodged being eaten for the time being. They'll be back to finish off the flowers before the honeyeaters get a chance. If they didn't make so much noise I'd probably not have even noticed them in their green feathers high among the leaves. Maybe the crows would have missed them too.
(Thanks to Pexels Victoria Mangano for the photo of the Rainbow Lorikeet)
Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.