Meat-eating lorikeets not so rare after all, it seems

WILDLIFE experts have been both stunned and horrified by lorikeets which have started to eat meat on a property between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Griffith University's Professor Darryl Jones, who has been researching the impact of backyard feeding on bird populations for almost two decades, told APN on Tuesday he had never heard of lorikeets eating meat.

They usually eat nectar and pollen which they obtain from native plants and shrubs.

But after a story on the ABC about meat eating lorikeets at Elimbah, north of Brisbane, Prof. Jones said he had been inundated by almost 200 emails from people who say they had had parrots and lorikeets eating meat for years.

"It's completely news to me. It just seems so strange,'' Prof. Jones said.

The ABC reported that the Elimbah property owner, Bill, has put out pets mince for magpies, currawongs and kookaburras.

He also puts out seed for vegetarian birds like galahs, king parrots and the lorikeets.

It was about seven years ago when Bill first noticed the lorikeets eating meat, and they have been eating it ever since.

Professor Darryl Jones said he could not imagine that eating meat would be good for the lorikeets though he plans to investigate that further today with vets.

But he said it was probably no different to humans eating all sorts of fatty and sugary foods which were not good for them either.

WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU HAVE SEEN A BIRD EAT? LEAVE YOUR COMMENT BELOW

 

Do you feed the birds?

This poll ended on 31 March 2015.

Current Results

Yes. It's a great part of my day

33%

No. It's not good for them

33%

Yes. And I've seen lorikeets eat meat

15%

I only feed my birds seed

16%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

Prof. Jones said despite receiving 187 emails from people, he still did not believe it was that common for lorikeets to be eating meat.

The Griffith University professor said it was 'too simple' to say it was bad for people to feed wildlife.

He said while there was 'almost no good reason to feed birds in a park setting', he could understand how it was a very important part of people's lives in a backyard setting.

Prof. Jones said more than 40% of Australian households fed birds in their backyards.

"For these people it is extremely important.''

Prof. Jones would like to hear from anyone who has observed lorikeets eating meat.

He can be reached at d.jones@griffith.edu.au


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