This week’s Wild Encounters, to put it simply, is Micah Rumsey covered in birds. Check out the lorikeets, which don’t understand the concept of personal space, as Micah speaks with Bird Keeper Samantha Amstutz at Riverbanks Zoo.
Micah: Welcome into a very friendly edition of Wild Encounters. I’m back with Samantha and we are here with the lorikeets, probably one of the most friendly animals…*bird squawks*…and a little bit loud, aren’t you? And they are just landing all over us. They’re excited for some nectar so tell us a little bit about these lorikeets.
Samantha: Sure, so there are 22 species of lorikeets. We have Australian Rainbow Lorikeets and Coconut Lorikeets. Lorikeets are a type of parrot and they do have a special adaptation to lap this nectar up. So if you come to our lorikeet walkthrough and get a lorikeet up close, look at their tongue. They have a special brush-tipped tongue that is especially well designed to get that nectar and pollen.
Micah: And they are a little bit loud. They like to squeak right there in your ear but very friendly animals and you can down here and walk right through just like this, right?
Samantha: Correct. Yeah, you don’t have to purchase a cup to walk through. The birds may even land on you too even without the nectar for enticement.
Micah: So, obviously, they’re friendly, but nothing to worry about as far as…
Samantha: No. They might nibble. They do explore with their beak but for the most part, it’s just exploring their own environment. We have some interactive nest boxes that we just put up this year. They’re visible on the koala side. You can see inside of them. So eventually we’re hoping that birds will nest in some of them and guests can actually see the babies develop too.
Micah: Excellent. So a breeding program to help to make more lorikeets.
Samantha: Yeah, exactly. So our parents will raise the babies for about 30 days and then we’ll actually take those babies and finish hand raising them ourselves, so they’re a little more comfortable with people if we do hand raise them.
Micah: And very colorful animals…
Samantha: Exactly. Yeah, that bright plumage definitely is very distinctive to the lorikeets.
Micah: Alright, so, make sure you come down here to the lorikeet area of Riverbanks Zoo. They’re climbing all over my microphone…all over. They’re the most friendly animals and you can definitely have your own Wild Encounter. We’ll see you next time.