The corrosive powers of lorikeet poo are truly amazing. There are days when it literally seems to eat away concrete. More amazing though, is the way a lorikeet can aim on a 45-degree angle. They are quite capable of painting any wall that is near their aviary and often seem to be doing so intentionally. You hear people say they’re messy and I guess from the human perspective they are, but they do seem to intentionally make the mess outside of their cage as much as possible and their personal hygiene cannot be questioned. I’m more than half-convinced that my lorikeets were fish in past lives. My guys swim and bathe in whatever water is available at least once a day.
At the moment though, this is not the biggest challenge that I’m dealing with. My biggest challenge comes in the form of my neighbours’ small fluffy dog and bird room renovations that I’m currently completing. I’m re-doing the seals around the windows and other similarly boring but suitably smelly jobs.
So needless to say, I’ve brought my birds into my study for a few days in order to avoid any fumes. The dog? If I say ‘yappy dog’ I’m sure you can picture what I mean. One of those irritating high-pitched barkers that never stops.
So, guess whose lorikeets have decided that ‘yappy dog noise’ is the best noise EVER?!?! I’m talking being stuck inside with a bird that’s been doing the lorikeet version (which isn’t very accurate) of that continuously for 2 hours straight. That sounds bad, doesn’t it? But wait, there’s more!
My lorikeets have a preference for a particular type of toy. They love hanging perspex toys that have moving parts and bells. They swing off them and make happy yipping noises while constantly ringing the bell. One toy in particular has taken their fancy at the moment. It’s a little cube hanging room with different shaped entry holes on each side and a bell hanging inside in the middle.
My little darling, Lori, has worked out how to jam her upper body into this room. She has discovered that it amplifies her voice. Furthermore, she can grab and tilt the bell, talking into it megaphone style, further amplifying her voice.
(I’ve included a video, so you can see what I mean.)
So now picture ‘lorikeet yappy dog noise’ amplified for 2 hours straight while you’re trying to read. I’m realistically looking at a couple more days of this. I know I could pull her out and do some training, distract her with flowering gum or something else. The problem is: she’s just so damn happy I can’t quite bring myself to stop it.
4 hours after writing the above, I snapped and went bird toy shopping. I found some nice ‘quiet’ swinging lorikeet toys – in the hopes of distracting them. I also picked up a couple of dog toys for my dog and my mum’s dogs, figuring that might keep them out of trouble for a while.
The lorikeets were very impressed with their new toys and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I gave the dogs their toys. I’d bought their favourite type – rubber toys that squeak. That’s 3 toys – 3 different squeaks. It took Otto (my musk lorikeet) less than 60 seconds to learn all three squeaks. He promptly started to teach the others; their new toys were promptly forgotten in favour of this new noise game.
So that’s living with lorikeets. They make you so nuts that you can envision repeatedly slamming your head in a door just to make the noise stop, but they’re so damn cute you don’t mind. And if you do mind, learn how to stop the screaming.
Mel Vincent works as an animal rehabilitator out of Australia.