Rainbow lorikeets visiting his window have helped Ben Newmarch through a tough and lonely time.
When two lorikeets started visiting, their friendship went viral. The first time that Sydneysider Ben Newmarch posted a video on TikTok, it instantly went viral. "It's been difficult living alone in lockdown and not seeing people," Ben wrote in the video.
The first time that Sydneysider Ben Newmarch posted a video on TikTok, it instantly went viral.
"It's been difficult living alone in lockdown and not seeing people," Ben wrote in the video.
"Then this happened."
In the video, Ben showed an unexpected friendship he made in 2021: two rainbow lorikeets, he called Peter and Jane, who have been rocking up to his window pretty much every day.
It's racked up almost 6 million views, and now Ben's adventures with Peter and Jane - feeding out of his palm, hanging out with him while he's wearing a dressing gown in the kitchen - has a dedicated following of more than 60,000 strangers on the internet.
It all started in summer, Ben told Hack, when he was about to leave the house one day.
He heard a tap on the window, and there was Peter, the rainbow lorikeet.
"I couldn't leave for the next hour and a half - I just sat there just let him play," Ben said.
Over the next few months, Peter would come and go, visiting Ben when he felt like it. Eventually, Peter started bringing his "girlfriend lorikeet" to Ben's window sill in Sydney.
"That was a turning point. And it was strange, because it was when I started to really feel my solitude in lockdown that the lorikeets were coming more and more often. And whether or not that was coincidence, that's when I started to take notice of them."
Ben was struggling emotionally through Sydney's winter Covid lockdowns, and grappling with being completely isolated while living alone.
But Peter and Jane's arrival in his life put him to work, and had him focusing on a small, daily joy.
"I spoke with a vet... they gave me some dry nectar powder, and I went from there. Once I started feeding them, the relationship started to blossom.
"It was unreal, I was getting so much joy from it. I started just to film every single interaction that I had with them. And I'm a weird dude as it is. So as soon as these birds would come...I just started getting ideas and you know, I would start to feed them from the top of my head or try to take them into the living room and introduce them to my plants."
Ben started sharing his adventures with Peter and Jane with his friends.
"I started just putting little snippets on my stories on Instagram. And I found a lot of people were starting to connect with that, and were telling me how much they were looking forward to seeing it every single day."
From there, Ben's TikTok account documenting Peter and Jane - and now his two new "family" members Bonnie and Clyde, a different lorikeet couple who've started visiting him as well - was born.
"It's going absolutely nuts," Ben said, and he loves seeing his followers find joy in his "weird birdie content" online.
But Ben's friendship with the rainbow lorikeets has sparked more than just lowkey viral fame, he said the whole thing has helped him out of a stubborn rut in life.
"I started to feel like a human again. They centered me, brought me back down.
"It started to really reignite my imagination and my connection with myself," Ben said.
Ben's started to change his career and is working casually as a disability support worker, which is something he said is "bringing a lot of life" back into him. And after being overwhelmed with the reaction to his videos online, Ben's also looking into turning the story of his lorikeet friendships into a children's book.
Ben said it's fair to say that Peter, Jane, Bonnie and Clyde have helped him figure out his post-lockdown life.
"It's kind of been the start of a new day forward."