Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lorikeet Landing at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Matty and I headed down to the Cincinnati Zoo today to sketch and draw some of the animals. In addition to sketching, we visited "Lorikeet Landing," a really cool display where you can interact and play with a flock of sweet, sweet lorikeets.

A Rainbow Lorikeet laps up nectar.

Last week Matty and my niece, Maria, went to zoo camp. They did a lot of behind-the-scenes work, and one of Matty’s favorite activities was visiting Lorikeet Landing. The kids learned a lot about parrots in the wild, including the devastating effects of the parrot pet trade on population numbers and the importance of making sure pet parrots have been hatched locally. He also filled me in on many other facts. Lorikeets, which are small parrots, are sweet and friendly birds. They come in many colors. They love fruit, nectar and pollen, and let me tell you…when you hold a cup of nectar in your hand, they become your best friend! At one point Matty had four Rainbow Lorikeets on him. Highly social, lorikeets hang out in small flocks, and boy are they noisy! It was fun listening to their whistles, warbles, and non-stop chatter. The love to talk to each other...and you! 

As soon as Matty walked in, two Rainbow Lorikeets hopped 
on him. It's so fun when they swoop in and land on you!

"Excuse me, young sir, but may I borrow one of your beads?"

Look at that gorgeous eye. These fellows are so 
friendly and sweet. They love communicating with 
you...through their bills, voices...and eyes!

Multiple birds would land on Matty and others 
would try to lure them away with seeds, but 
the lorikeets always came back to Matty.

Next year Matty and Maria will be zoo volunteers 
(called "volunteens"). Matty wants to work in Lorikeet 
Landing! I think he will be perfect for the job!

"Hey, hey...not so fast! Where do you think you are going 
with that nectar? Take off your shoes and stay a while!"
This nectar-loving Black-capped Lory pulled Matty back 
closer to him. Then he hitched a ride on Matty's shoulder.

"Come on down to the zoo, zoo, zoo--
Cincinnati Zoo Zoo Zoo. Family fun for 
everyone at the Cincinnati Zoo...yeah!" 
(Remember that song?)

Do these guys remind you of the Painted Buntings I found on Pinckney Island (beside the fact the Painted Buntings were in the wild and are...well...buntings and not parrots!)? They have the same colors!

Beak Bit
Lorikeets have a brush-tipped tongue that helps them lap up nectar. Their feet also help them obtain nectar because they have two toes in the front and two toes in the back, which gives them a strong grip and lets them hang upside down to drink nectar from a flower. 

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is the second-oldest zoo in the United States. It opened in 1875, a year after the Philadelphia Zoo opened. The Reptile House (built in 1875) is the oldest zoo building in America.


Sue said...

Those are some wild colors-and I think the orange/black striping on their chests are fantastic.
I'm glad the zoo's have programs that get young people involved. The more they know and care about wild creatures, the better off our world is.
Great photos, I enjoyed this set a lot.

ShySongbird said...

How lovely and what a treat for Matty. He looks so relaxed amongst the beautiful Rainbow Lorikeets. I can see he is following in your footsteps with your love of Nature. You have bestowed a wonderful gift upon him.

Rene said...

Matty has got to be your son. Based on your little itty bitty thumbnail profile photo, he's the spitting image of you! The lorikeets are adorable, aren't they? They have a feeding area at one of our Six Flags here. The only problem is they think moles are berries and they kept biting the moles on my husband's neck. He was bleeding profusely after 2 minutes. He has a lot of moles, and it was terrifying the younger kids in the feeding pen. LOL.

The buntings and lorikeets both look like patchworks of random colors.

Anonymous said...

I have not been to the Cincinnati Zoo in ages. The last time was about 30 years ago. I suppose the old elephants there then have moved on by now. I did not know about the Lorikeets or anything like that then. I wonder if they even had that. They had a cafeteria there back then that was expensive. An arm and leg bought you one hot dog that wasn't so hot (no pun intended).

Your photographs show a perfectly happy young man who seems to cherish these birds and all the attention he gets. The birds themselves are absolutely stunning and their colors are amazing. That gives you and me some ideas of what colors go together. Look at the green and red together. And....

Anonymous said...

Beautiful colourings Kelly. I think you must have been using that paint spray can again.{:)

Tina said...

Such color and wonderful patterns on these tropical sure looks like Matty had the secret to keeping them happy!!
Great photos and an interesting post!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such nice commments!!

Sarah said...

I was a Zoo volunteer many moons ago - look at how well I turned out! :-)

Matty will love it!

Chris said...

Excellent Kelly,
These are beautiful birds and it is nice to get thaclose to them... Marvelous!

Susan Ellis said...

Wow! Another place to add to my must visit list! and the lorikeets are perfect colour swatches!

Cindy said...

Wow! Those are some amazing looking birds. The colors are fantastic. Great photos.

Thanks for your help on identifying the Tricolored Heron. I would still be guessing. ~Cindy

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Kel, Is that your sweet little boy???? He's so handsome!!!! WOW--and those Lorikeets really love him, don't they?????

Great pictures --and what a great way for him to be a 'volunteen'....

Beautiful colors---those birds!!!

Cicero Sings said...

You've a handsome young lad there! I'd like to volunteer in Lorikeet Landing too.

DaveABirding said...

Cool looking place, it reminds me of the Butterfly Pavilion here in Colorado. Thanks for sharing the experience for those of us located far away.

Heather said...

What a GREAT experience for Matty!! Like ShySongbird said, he looks very comfortable with the birds. I'm envious!! I'm glad he's already geared up to do it again next summer. I know I keep pushing the Wilds, but they have some great "behind the scenes" type of camp options available there. If Matty ever decides that he wants to get into animal sciences, you should look into their Wildecamps. I bet he would love it!
Now, when do we get to see some of the sketches and drawings you made while you were at the zoo?

Creative Cards said...

Well I just learned some great history today!! I had no idea about the Cincinnati Zoo or when it was oringinally built. Matty was definately comfortable with the birds!! they are very beautiful indeed.

Warren Baker said...

I don't think there can be more colouful birds than these Kelly, thry really take the biscuit....err nectar should I say!

Kelly said... sentiments exactly. Children have to learn about and experience the animals before they can grow up and save them. I love the educational opportunities at the Cincy Zoo.

Songbird...thank you! He was relaxed with the birds. Maybe that's why they flock to him. When he's with an animal he slows down and give it all of his attention. That makes a difference.

Rene...he has a lot of me in him....but he has his dad's nose (thank goodness, Rick's nose is much cuter than mine!) :-) Nothing was sacred the lorikeets. One really liked my hair, and had fun pulling it out. Your poor husband!!! has changed so much in the past 30 years, but some of it is the same. Lorikeet Landing is newer. It's fun. I remember that cafeteria family never ate there! They've moved the entrance to Vine Street, and I think they are going to put in a new Savannah in the old parking lot...heard that, not sure. (those colors do go well together...Mother Nature!)

Roy....guilty as charged ;-)

Tina....he would go down there every day if we could to play with the birds. He loves them.

WordGirl...I didn't know you were a zoo volunteer. It explains your love of the birds... :-)

Chris...I want to go back there too. It felt wonderful when they squeezed your finger with their feet while reaching for the nectar! is fun....definitely add it to your list! :-)

Cindy....I couldn't imagine seeing these guys in the wild. Lucky, lucky people who live in their habitats.

Betsy....yes ma'am. That is Matty, and he's getting big. He just had a little growing spurt and he's almost as tall as I am.....almost....

Cicero...I'd like to volunteer too! I wonder if they have "Volenmoms...or Volunelders?" :-)

Dave...oh! I love butterfly exhibits. We have one at Krohn Conservatory. The butterflies are everywhere and light on you for a bit and then fly off. If I make it to Colorado I'll have to check it out!

Heather....we were talking about the Wilds on the way home. I think we are going to try to make it up in August. It might be a bit hot then, but should still be interesting. I've never been and want to go! I'm going to post Matty's and a few of my sketches tonight...

Crista...there are some very old and cool buildings there. I hope they don't ever lose them. The elephant house and the reptile house are pretty neat.

Warren....I know....the Painted Buntings are a close second, but these birds are so much bigger and therefore much more color! Very beautiful...

Shelley said...

I'm in love w/ those Lorikeets now - such a striking and sweet bird! And the happy expressions you caught on Matty's face were wonderful - I bet those birds could sense that he loved them too!!

Jenny said...

Yes, that same intense set of colours. Beautiful and what a great place to learn about birds up close and personal. Great close ups Kelly.

holdingmoments said...

Lovely post Kelly, beautiful birds, and a very happy looking Matty.
Must have been a great experience for him; it really shows in his face, and an experience he'll always remember and treasure.

I wanna be a "volunteen"! :)

Ken. said...

Hi Kelly. What terrific looking birds they are, and the colour, it looks like someone has tried to add every colour under the sun to their plumage some where.Their certainly not dull, are they??
Nice Blog Kelly.

Kathie Brown said...

What pretty birds these are! I can't believe their colors!

Ginnymo said...

What beautiful birds!! They really loved Matty!! Or his necklace?? Ha! Great photos Kelly!! You sure do see lots of interesting animals!

myonlyphoto said...

These are some colorful birds. I saw many in Jurong Bird park in Singapore, amazing. Anna :)

Kelly said...

Shelley...I'm in love with them too! Matty was in 7th Heaven to say the least! Thanks...

Jenny...the best way to learn. I know I certainly did!! :-)

Keith...I do too. He can't stop talking about those birds. He named all of them too...

Thanks, Ken. No sir-ee...they are not dull. Gorgeous and very snappy! person they are even more colorful it seems!!

Ginny...funny, these birds have personalities. Only one of about 20 birds played with his necklace!

Anna...they are breathtaking. I would love to see them in the wild some day.

Elaine said...

The Lorikeets are really beautiful. Matty looks so happy to be with the Lorikeets. What a wonderful program to have for kids. It's those kind of experiences that help kids find their way to who they are and who they want to be. I'll bet your face looked much like Matty's when you were at Pinckney Island.

Vickie said...

Love these images, both of the lorikeets and Matty's face! The feather detail is so gorgeous in your photos. I've had the fun of doing this with my son also. Delightful.

Laure Ferlita said...

The birds are gorgeous but what captured my attention was the pure joy on Mattie's face! Wishing him look on getting to work with the lorikeets next year!

Kelly said...

Elaine...thank you....Matty loved it....and I think you're right. I did probably look like that at Pinckney!! I still have a few photos to post too...! Didn't you love it. These birds are so sweet and friendly. I loved the way their little feet felt on my hands and arms.

Laure....thank you!! I love these photos as're right. It's pure joy on his face (and that makes me happy too!)

Jayne said...

(I am catching up on my reading Kelly, so forgive the late replies.)

I love all these photos! How cool that they will just come to you like that. The expression on his face is priceless! I do hope he gets to volunteer in that venue.

Uncommon Depth said...

Wow - what beautiful birds. I can just imagine seeing these in the wild!

Kelly said...

Jayne...thanks. I hope he does too. It will be cool if next year I'm posting photos of him in his little VolunTeen shirt in this exhibition.

Uncommon...I am with you. I couldn't imagine seeing a flock because they are rarely alone. It would be breathtaking!

AMIT said...

Excellent work done my friend.Thanks for being a Bird Lover.

Alternative energy

Dawn Fine said...

What a lucky guy Matty is! I think this camp is such an wonderful thing for kids, your son seems a natural.
Very cool looking birds!

Wai Yien said...

The Lorikeet appears to be very freindly even without the luring seeds huh.

Beuatiful plumage.