One sneaky bird escaped from Colchester Zoo in the UK last week by hitching a ride on an unsuspecting visitor. The bird in question is a rainbow lorikeet, and is pretty much the least inconspicuous escapee possible as its brightly colored feathers don’t exactly fly under the radar. Despite this obvious disadvantage, it's been on the lam ever since.
The intrepid avian made a break for it on Saturday, January 6, hopping onto a visitor as they left its enclosure. According to the Colchester Gazette, zookeepers were unable to remove the bird before it flew off and it was last seen hiding in the trees opposite the zoo's nature area.
“The bird flew into nearby tall trees and when keepers attempted to clear the area and get some ladders to entice the bird down, it flew off towards the back of the zoo,” a spokesman for Colchester Zoo reportedly said. “Keepers assembled to try and get it to fly back towards the zoo as they could see it, but to no avail.”
Colchester Zoo in Heckfordbridge, Essex, has a walk-in enclosure for rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus), a colorful parrot commonly found in Australia, which can have a surprising taste for meat. Visitors can purchase a cup of nectar to feed the birds and encourage them to land on them – although they do not usually leave with them.
While the fugitive remains at large, zookeepers are doing their best to tempt it back to its flock, moving the remaining birds to their outdoor enclosure in the hope that it will hear their vocalizations and come back. They also left a crate of nectar out overnight, but the runaway bird didn’t take the bait.
“Staff remain on watch and we will continue to do everything we can to get the lorikeet back safely,” the spokesperson added.
It has been suggested by one expert that the plucky bird may be able to survive in the wild, even despite the current cold weather. “If it survives the winter, it could continue out in the wild,” Nick Moran, training manager at the British Trust for Ornithology, told Southend Echo.
If it does make it, it could join the likes of Flamingo 492, another avian absconder who was last seen living it up in Texas having been on the run since 2005.