Lorikeets and Bread

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ConfusedAboutBirds's picture
Lorikeets and Bread

I've been looking around the web and keep getting mixed answers. 

Can you feed lorikeets bread?

I know someone who feeds them every afternoon. She puts a bit of honey on say at least 5 slices of bread and cuts them into little squares. Some of the bread is a bit soaked from water? But not all of it.

She comes from overseas. She loves seeing all the wild birds in the backyard and I'm pretty sure they were coming before because there are plants the birds love. But now they come all the time for the honey bread.

She believes that it is doing the birds no harm but I'm not entirely sure. 

I'd appreciate some solid answers if anyone has some. I don't want the birds getting ill because she thinks it's okay.

Woko's picture

There's great debate in Australia about the wisdom or otherwise of artificially feeding birds. From what I can gather it is quite acceptable in the UK & US to artificially feed birds. In fact, there's a big bird feeding industry so, as can be expected, that industry spends big money promoting the activity.

I am quite opposed to the artificial feeding of birds in Australia, at least, for several reasons. 

It seems to me that if you don't want birds to fall ill then why wouldn't you feed them naturally by providing them with their natural habitat which produces their natural food? 

When people artificially feed birds I have to ask for whom is the feeding. It's almost invariably feeding not for the birds but for the feeder because the feeder wants to view the birds up close & personal. The birds' needs are entirely secondary to the feeder's needs, an environmental position which, on a broad scale, has brought humungous devastation to our planet & which, we are slowly realizing, is endangering our own species Homo sapiens. So the artificial feeding of birds is a microcosm of an extremely serious problem for us.

I have observed hundreds of Rainbow & other Lorikeets being artificially fed with food & water at a tourist site in the Adelaide Hills. Nearby were flowering local Eucalypts whose flowers were waiting in vain to be pollinated while the opportunist Lorikeets were busy entertaining the tourists. So an important ecological function was being denied by artificial feeding & less Eucalypts are likely to regenerate as a result. 

There are two serious diseases in Rainbow Lorikeets which are associated with unnatural diets & poor hygiene in the birds: necrotizing enteritis & psittacine circovirus disease. You might wish to find out more about these Rainbow Lorikeet-killing afflictions by googling <artificial feeding of Rainbow Lorikeets>. 

Since the lady you know already has plants in her garden which attract the Lorikeets she may wish to plant more, particularly indigenous species. This is likely to encourage other sorts of food for the Lorikeets such as larvae. If she were to encourage her neighbors & local council to do likewise then the number of birds & other wildlife will increase significantly & thereby add to her pleasure. It'll be a win-win as they say in corporatese. 

The last thing most newcomers to Australia want to do is take care of our wildlife. As can be expected & notwithstanding the so-called global village, old habits from countries of origin die hard. Encouraging the lady to change her behavior & to put the birds' needs first, if that's what you wish to do, will take considerable gentle effort & patience. If you think it will help I'm happy for you to show her this post. 


If humans ate a feed of mcdonalds, kfc, or other processed foods once or twice a day; they often don't feel or look so good. I wonder if a daily feed of bread, or cheap seed would be similar to birds. 

The old lady probably won't change. But perhaps they feed in Europe because they have cut many of their forest down.  Sadly we are well on our way. 

However plant a tree, in fact plant many. Shrubs even better. Enjoy watching them grow. Sit in the sun, or watch it go down.  Watch the butter flies, lady beatles, stick insects and whatever else come by.  Its much more rewarding and interesting being rewarded by your own handy work than chucking bread at a bird. It takes time though, something us humans are fast becoming intollerant of. 

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

pacman's picture

the Macas analogy is great; what was that movie where the chap ate only Macas for one month?


dwatsonbb's picture

Super Size me was the movie with Micheal Moore. A good watch.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
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