|THIS bird inhabits
the vast plains of the interior of New South Wales. It is
one of the handsomest, not only of the Australian
Parrots, but takes foremost place among the most
gorgeously dressed members of the Parrot family that are
to be met with in any part of the world. It is about
eleven or twelve inches in length. The female cannot with
certainty be distinguished from her mate, but is usually
a very little smaller. The Lory seldom descends to the
ground, but passes the greater part of its life among the
gum trees upon the pollen and nectar on which it mainly
subsists. In times of scarcity, however, it will also eat
grass seeds, as well as insects, for want of which it is
said, it often dies prematurely when in captivity.
Dr. Russ mentions that a pair obtained from a London dealer in 1870 for fifty dollars were the first of these birds imported, but the London Zoological Society had secured some of them two years before.
Despite his beauty, the Blue Mountain Lory is not a desirable bird to keep, as he requires great care. A female which survived six years in an aviary, laying several, eggs, though kept singly, was fed on canary seed, maize, a little sugar, raw beef and carrots. W. Gedney seems to have been peculiarly happy in his specimens, remarking. "But for the terribly sudden death which so often overtakes these birds, they would be the most charming feathered pets that a lady could possess, having neither the power nor inclination to bite savagely."
|The same writer's recommendation to
feed this Lory exclusively upon soft food, in which honey
forms a great part, probably accounts for his advice to
those "whose susceptible natures would be
shocked" by the sudden death of their favorite, not
to become the owner of a Blue Mountain Lory.
Like all the parrot family these Lories breed in hollow boughs, where the female deposits from three to four white eggs, upon which she sits for twenty-one days. The young from the first resemble their parents closely, but are a trifle less brilliantly colored.
They are very active and graceful, but have an abominable shriek. The noise is said to be nearly as disagreeable as the plumage is beautiful. They are very quarrelsome and have to be kept apart from the other parrots, which they will kill. Other species of birds however, are not disturbed by them. It is a sort of family animosity. They have been bred in captivity.
The feathers of the head and neck are long and very narrow and lie closely together; the claws are strong and hooked, indicating their tree climbing habits. Their incessant activity and amusing ways make these birds always interesting to watch.