Lorikeets land at N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher

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Lorikeets flock to eat nectar offered by two young guests at the new Lorikeet Landing at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Photo courtesy N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
Lorikeets flock to eat nectar offered by two young guests at the new ‘Lorikeet Landing’ at the aquarium. Photo courtesy N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Fins and feathers now flock together at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

Aquarium officials recently announced that a new interactive, live-animal exhibit featuring lorikeets opened April 4.

“Visitors delight in admiring small, tropical birds perched on vines,” according to a news release from the aquarium. “The birds display feathers in dazzling color combinations from brilliant blues and greens to reds and yellows.”

Guests can purchase a cup of nectar to hand-feed the lorikeets. The free-flying birds land on arms and hands (and sometimes a head) to drink up the sweet juice with their unique brush–like tongues.

“’Lorikeet Landing’ continues to tell the story of valuable pollinators in nature,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “Feeding a lorikeet is fun and exciting and will help guests make a personal connection with this beautiful and important species.”

Aquarium staff worked for months planning and preparing the aviary space which temporarily housed exotic butterflies in 2014. “Lorikeet Landing” is situated in a natural area adjacent to the main aquarium and surrounded by an outdoor garden. The interior consists of hanging vines, trees, flowers and grasses.

Lorikeets belong to the parrot family. Their natural habitat is tropical forests in Australia. In the wild, lorikeets face predators such as falcons, pythons and humans capturing the birds for the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction from logging and agriculture, according to the news release.

“Lorikeet Landing” is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September, weather permitting. The exhibit closes from 12:30-1:30 p.m. daily for the health of the birds. Admission to the exhibit is $3 per person; nectar cups are $1. General aquarium admission is not included.

N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located just south of Kure Beach, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River, on U.S. 421. Click here for more information, including hours of operation and ticket prices.