Letting a wild lorikeet go after 6 months of human care?

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petlover94's picture
Letting a wild lorikeet go after 6 months of human care?

I have a scaly lorikeet that I rescued around 6 months ago. At the time he couldn't fly properly due to broken and small feathers on his tail and 1 wing. (He was an adult bird when found) His feathers have now grown back healthy and lorikeets hover in my back yard talking to him. One scaly lorikeet even sits on his cage and talks to him. (My house is around 500m from where I rescued him) it's heart breaking to see how much my lorikeet wants to get out when the lorikeets are around.  Am I able to let him go? Will he die because he has been in captivity for 6 months? If I can let him go, how can I do it best? Help! 

Woko's picture

There are other Birds in Backyards members with far more experience than I in dealing with releases into the wild. However, for what it's worth, it seems to me that there's always a risk when releasing animals but the risk is worth it, particularly when there is a population of the same species in the vicinity. Keeping animals, including humans, in cages is not something I would endorse - unless the animal is feral to the location.

Holly's picture

As Woko said - it sounds like he has made contact with a flock that would take him in. If he is fit and healthy he should be fine. If you are unsure though, talk to your local wildlife rescue group and see if they have any advice on the best way to do the release (I am not sure if there is a process or if it is as simple as opening the cage door but they may have some tips for you).


edit - might be also worth getting a vet check (by an avian vet) to make sure that he is in good enough condition to go.

dwatsonbb's picture

Agree with Holly, if you can get a vet check, and then leave the cage door open when the others are around. He is possibly from the same flock, and may well blend straight back in. Once you have opened the cage, leave the door open for a few days, he may pop back in every now and then, if he feels unsafe in the wild. It might also take some time for him to be confident in leaving his current abode. It may also be worth considering releasing toward the end of the day, when the flock is looking to roost for the night.

Good luck, and let us know how you go. 

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Qyn's picture

Some species of birds will self-adopt other members of that species into their group and rainbow lorrikeets and galahs (among other flocking birds) are known to do this - I am not familiar with the habits of scaly breasted lorrikeets but what has been written here indicates to me that this may also be the case for them. Unfortunately the types of injuries sustained by some wild animals mean that they remain in care longer than is ideal which is why care needs to be taken to reduce the imprinting and dependance of the animal upon the human carers (likewise why supplementary feeding of birds is not recommended).

This time of the year is probably a very good time to allow reintegration into a flock for this bird especially as it was originally wild as the daylight hours are longer; food is relatively abundant; agression due to competition for nesting sites and mate selection is not as overwhelming as earlier in the season and already there are indications that there are seeming attempts to interact positively with this bird by resident members of the same species. I think I would be doing as Dale suggested however I (maybe wrongly) would be choosing early morning rather than later in the day simply as there would be less night predators around if the bird became disoriented but then again I have never thought of the roosting aspect and also am more familiar with rainbow lorries than others of this genus.

"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."


Just let him go, Better to die free than in a cage and forever wanting to fly.

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