Jeanette Wilson with a surviving persimmon.
Jeanette Wilson with a surviving persimmon. Renee Pilcher

Lorikeet party tough on fruit crop

DRUNKEN lorikeets are one of those things that may be sent to try us from time to time, even if we do live in something approaching paradise.

David and Jeanette Wilson didn’t get to pick that many persimmons this year, despite a good crop.

But those lorikeets, driven out of the forest by starvation, enjoyed an excellent harvest from the Wilson’s crop.

“I think they know they’re safe here,” Jeanette said yesterday, “because we wouldn’t hurt them.

“We might have to get the netting finished though,” she said.

Jeanette explained that the birds normally feed on nectar, but heavy and consistent rain had washed out most of the flowers around their Goomboorian acreage, where they also run their Rossmount nursery and a B&B, the Rossmount Rural Retreat.

The lorikeets came in to eat the persimmons, even the astringent ones (which are mainly grown for root stock, onto which sweeter bearing varieties are grafted).

“They eat nectar rather than fruit, so they just dribble a lot of it out and leave the fruit pecked and damaged.

“Then the rain comes and fills the fruit.

“After a few days it has fermented and when they come back it’s alcoholic and they get really drunk.”

“You see them rolling around on top of the netting,” David laughed. “You could pick them up, they’re so helpless.”

“It’s like Schoolies Week for birds,” Jeanette said.

“It’s all our fault really,” she explained.

“About six years ago we had a really bad lorikeet season and decided to put up nets.

“But the next five years we had good seasons and never really tied the nets down properly, so they are not bird-proof.”

Jeanette is secretary/treasurer of Persimmons Australia, the peak body for Australian persimmon growers. the organisation publishes a recipe book and updates it regularly.

Gympie Times


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