I recently posted about my impromptu aviary. I mentioned that when the sunflowers ripened, I would be adding parrots to the list of birds visiting my back garden. Well, the sunflowers are ripening. Here are the first visitors: crimson Rosellas. One adult comes with his or her (I can’t tell the difference) teenage offspring every morning at about 6:30. They return most afternoons for a second feed.
These are my favourite Australian parrots. That red coat is spectacular. Both male and female start out greenish and “ripen” to a deep red as they get older. There is a difference in size between males and females but I’m not going to try to guess which my visitor is.
The young one mainly picks leaves and eats the stems. I wonder if the seeds are too hard to get. The older Rosella sit on top of a flower head (which has to be on a very strong stalk) then leans way over to pick seeds from the flower head. S/he’s very good at picking eating only the ripe seeds and leaving the others to mature on the plant.
Here’s the result of that selective eating.
The chickens are very interested in the Rosellas. I suspect they’ve learned that parrots are messy eaters and they’re hoping for some leavings. In fact, my girls are happy (nah, keen) to eat the shells of the sunflower seeds. The problem is that most of the flowers are behind the veggie-patch fence so the good stuff falls out of reach of the chickens 😦 (Confession, I went down after the Rosellas left and collected a handful of discarded seeds for my chooks. I want them to adore me always and it sure is easy to buy their affection. I didn’t feed the bush turkey though, she’s getting enough freebies from the chicken feeders.)
I love these daily visits and I’ll be sad when the sunflowers are all gone. But it looks like I have a couple of weeks of “harvest” ahead of me so I won’t mourn the passing of this display for a while. Unless the cockatoos find the sunflowers – a flock of them can eat (or pick and carry away) all my flowers in a single day. Here’s hopin’.