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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Return of the Carnivorous Lorikeets

Remember a spell back when we posted about birds in the parrot family that got a notion to chow down on flesh? Scientists were startled by this news. Turns out, though, that they may not have been if they were paying attention to such strange goings-on around them.

Credit: Morguefile / wallyir
Years ago, when I played Dungeons and Dragons, I developed my on monster called the piranhakeet. You can tell I didn't take the game seriously. But I didn't realize that there was a modicum of science in my silliness.

Let's back up a mite. In the beginning, everything was created not only very good, but vegetarian. After the Fall and Flood, lots of changes happened. Critters developed a taste for other critters, and some for humans. And humans were given license to eat God's gift of tasty animals. But birds? Sure, some eat worms and bugs, but actual meat? It turns out that carnivorous birds have been around for longer than scientists thought — and not just parrots.
When Professor Daryl Jones of Griffith University, Australia, first heard of rainbow lorikeets eating meat, he was “shocked”. Rainbow lorikeets are a beautiful Australian parrot species (Trichoglossus haematodus) renowned for eating fruit (much to the dismay of orchardists!), as well as seeds, nectar, and pollen. In other words, 100% herbivorous. But two years ago the owner of a back yard bird-feeding station north of Brisbane reported that lorikeets were eating the mincemeat he’d left out for carnivorous birds, e.g. magpies, kookaburras, and butcher birds.
To chew on the rest of the article, click on "More meat-eating lorikeets (and other parrots, too)".

In the beginning, everything was vegetarian. After the Fall, then the Flood, meat eating was allowed. Some critters that people always considered vegetarian are turning carnivorous. What's happening?