Saturday 22 July 2017


The times of the year when native trees in the bush and your garden are in blossom are when nature provides ample food for many birds.  Everyone will notice then an abundance of lorikeets keen to make the most of pollen and nectar.

Rainbow Lorikeet       Photo: L Blain

The most common lorikeets in NSW are the Rainbow Lorikeet and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet.  Many people feed these birds in their gardens, but it is not wise to give them sugar or honey.  Their blood cells need a certain amount of simple sugars but too much is harmful to them.  While birds like drinking a sugary syrup, it is low in nutrients, particularly Vitamin B, and can lead to an unbalanced diet.  Nutritional deficiencies can result in babies with deformed feet and wings.  These birds will not survive for very long.

My advice is not to feed any native wild birds as they may become dependent and can suffer from fungal infections as a result of dirty containers and stale contaminated food.

Seeds such as sunflower seed should not be fed to wild lorikeets as it can lead to serious consequences with feeding habits.  Lorikeets possess a brush tongue.  Prolonged eating of seeds such as sunflower seed remove this natural and important pollen-consuming characteristic from the bird’s mouth.

If left to find their own food, wild birds of all species provide an essential and instinctive insect control system and pollinate our native plants.  This then helps the environment.

Bill Noonan

 This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on July 17, 2017.