Saturday, August 12, 2006

Attack of the killer Lorikeets

Took visiting family to the Nashville Zoo yesterday. One of their exhibits is a small aviary where you can be mobbed in a friendly way by hoards of Lorikeets. The birds are quite sociable, climbing on ears, hands, clothes, anything they can get a grip on. Some of them enjoyed climbing up and down my beard braids (which are about 18 inches long). It was terribly tempting to smuggle some of those cuties home. But, I tell ya, I have a new sympathy for Australian birders now. They had 7 or 8 species in there, and even at point-blank range it weren't no easy task to sort 'em out! I sure hope that in the wild they diverge in range and habitat, or there must be a lot of "Lorikeet, sp." entries in Australian field notes.

In another exhibit, they also have a Pileated Woodpecker, the only one of those and one of very very few woodpeckers of any sort I have seen in captivity. There was no docent handy to ask, but I guess it might be a rescued bird. Interestingly, it had white blotching visible on the wing coverts when perched, just like that shown in some of the photos of mottly Pileateds that came out or Arkansas. It looked like a result of either moulting or feather damage (from the confined environment, perhaps?)


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