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Will your bird get a holiday gift this year?
Friday, May 22, 2009

By Jessica Pineda, Associate Editor of BIRD TALK and
Join her on her quest to learn about each parrot species in The Parrot Birder.

lorikeet perched
Photos courtesy of Jessica Pineda
I should know better about wearing jewelry around rambunctious lorikeets.

lorikeets eating
I've seen birds "dive" for their food, but these lories actually dove.

I haven’t had a chance to volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach, Calif., for more than a month, so I eagerly threw myself into a day of sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea anemones, sea snails — and lorikeets!

Being that I used to work in a bird store, I should know better about wearing jewelry around rambunctious parrots. My replica of a shark tooth necklace earned the attention of four — four! — rainbow lories. While they were crawling all over me, trying to get my necklace, they soon discovered the buttons on my shirt. It was quite a game for them; they would undo the buttons and then I’d redo them — like I was doing it just for them!

I happened to be in the lorikeet aviary right around closing time. When the last of the visitors left, it was feeding time! Now that was something else; I’ve seen birds “dive” for their food bowl — my Meyer’s parrot, Garth, will jam for his vegetables when I put them on top of his cage. But these fully-flighted lories literally dove, like missiles, using their expert flying skills to flare out their wings and tail feathers and land safely. Well, most of them. A few landed past the food bowls, some landed on the ground and others … well, I had more than one land on my head.

It’s so much different interacting with a flock of birds than just an individual bird. The aviculturists know each of them just by looking at them, which is quite impressive. I am not as familiar with lories as I am with other parrots, but it is fun to watch them strut, bicker, play fight and fly after each other like kids at recess. 

This is why I love volunteering!

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