by June Ramli
SYDNEY, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- An Australian researcher will embark on the world's first study that looks at rainbow lorikeets developing a penchant for meat and the after effects of consuming something that is not in their normal diet.
Griffith University Professor of Ecology Darryl Jones who will spearhead the research said it will look specifically at lorikeet birds after it was recently discovered to love consuming chicken meat.
He said the phenomenon which was made known to him last March through a bird feeder in Brisbane, had prompted Jones to think that it was a couple of strange birds eating meat. However, a subsequent media report on the matter had resulted in as much of 500 emails sent to him by strangers confirming to have witnessed such events from as far as 10 years back.
Jones said the birds were naturally known to snack on nectar and pollen and required protein at certain times of the year.
"They will seek out protein sources by eating insects, dead farm animals or road kill animals," Queensland-based Jones told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
But whether the change in diet would affect the bird's development or drive them to extinction has yet to be determined by anyone.
"The rainbow lorikeets are beautiful and iconic birds and they are commonly found in the cities in the East Coast of Australia as humans have put trees and shrubs that has lot of nectar and pollen (in their gardens)," he said.
Jones said the research will start after the breeding season is over by conducting random test on wild lorikeets feathers.
"We won't be killing any birds for this study and we expect to complete it in a couple of years time," he said.