One winter long ago it had been raining solidly for a week. Sitting on the dry balcony I worried about the cold, wet wildlife. Where did they shelter? And taking pity on the wet bedraggled rainbow lorikeets, I put out some wild bird seed under the balcony, off the ground so that it kept dry. A small amount. It didn’t take long – they are cheeky birds – before they came and ate. The situation rapidly escalated, as it does with rainbow lorikeets, and soon they discovered that they could sit on the balcony rail in the dry and then nip down for a quick bite to eat below, also in the dry. And back again. The numbers grew. They sheltered in pairs on the balcony rail and snuggled up and snogged.  

Soon they were with us all day long, alternating between feeding and snogging, but only on very wet days. Preening the head seemed to be the most satisfactory and they took it in turns. It created an ecstasy. This happened time and time again but only when it rained. They sheltered all day with us and then disappeared somewhere else to roost as it grew dark. But next day they were back. When it fined up they were gone – until the next time. Ever since then they have remembered and, whether there is food or not, if the weather is bad for several days they reappear and there they are again snogging away the bad times in their pairs. And so it continues to this day. 

Smart little birds. — ANNE E ASHFORD

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