Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thin ice? Where?

Well,we finally did it: the Three Stooges are officially free. Mr P was remarkably calm throughout the whole episode - even when his platform was invaded (yep, all that expense to install new launchpads and they make a beeline for the old one). Still, they had a good feed, executed a couple of victory laps above the house, and settled into the serious work of destroying next year's orange crop. Oh yes, I do believe the farmers when they assure me parrots can do that. Yep, if around 10,000 of them put in a 10 hour day for about a fortnight, I think that the yield from one particular farm may be affected by parrot damage. A financial loss equal to employing 3 men with shotguns and ammunition enough to shoot them all perhaps? God forbid we try and share this planet with anything. Actually, while we are exploring that rocky road to hate mail, it may interest someone, somewhere, to know that we have a mandarin-type citrus tree which is particularly attractive to parrots. Here we were thinking that our green-feathered visitors were just dropping by because we're nice to them, when it turns out that they've been demolishing these mandarins. (They're welcome to them, by the way, they're sour and horrible). But, wouldn't it be an interesting idea to make it compulsory to plant one of these for every 100 oranges - give the birds something to snack out on that didn't matter, leaving the real crop alone? Maybe even implement a decoy program where more attractive non-citrus fruits are cultivated alongside the oranges? ... Or maybe it's just more fun to shoot them.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Man v Parrot (match in progress)

I know I've been quiet of late. The truth is I'm a little embarrassed that my plans have been thwarted by one stroppy red lored parrot. January was supposed to be the big release of The Three Stooges (Bonnie, Kalie and Kleintjie) with all the media attention it deserved (well, 5 lines on our website at least). Unfortunately, every time I climb the ladder to open the door to freedom, I am dive-bombed by Mr P who regards the release door as the entrance to his personal fortress, and all those who dwell beyond it as potential intruders. I have to confess, I did not see that one coming.
However, not to be outdone by a mere bird, at this very moment our Chief Aviary Constructor is busy welding up two more doors complete with feeding platforms and ladder. Let's see Mr P guard that little lot. Ha, see, still the smart one. For now...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Black & White Owl Rescue.

On Saturday a family in the Cayo District called us to collect a black & owl owl which had been caught on their barbed wire fence all night. Unfortunately, during its time hung up he had chewed at its own wing to get free and removed all soft tissue down to the bone around the mid-section of the wing. We were forced to have the wing amputated - a really sad event for us, as a one-winged raptor is not an awful lot of use to itself. However, he is turning out to be a resilient little chappie. He's alert, he's eating everything we offer and as of today he can hop onto a low perch and feed himself from a tray. We are not sure what we are going to do with a flightless owl, his quality of life as it stands is not great. The family who found him are keen to have him live on their veranda, and with time he may lose his wildness and get some psychological satisfaction from the deal: we are certainly impressed with his tolerance for humans so far.
We are resisting the urge to call him 'Ollie' or 'Stumpy'. I am leaning toward 'Minstrel', although it seems you have to be British and over 40 to get that one.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reptile-Birds: the missing avian link?

It is the general consensus of the household that we have a pair of Veloceraptors in our midst, masquerading as parakeets. Actually they are more like those little things that swarmed all over the girl on the beach, but no-one knows what they are called. Anyhow, I'll admit it, we created the monsters ourselves by allowing them prime position in the living room - master and commander of their 2-cage condo; one for sleep, play and launching at the sofa, the other for fine dining and ambushing the unwary. Like all parakeets they are noisy, scrappy and believe themselves to be 10-feet tall and bullet proof. With flick-knives. And Kalashnikovs.
Pinky & Perky (aka Kray Twins, Little BarStewards...) were donated by a local family some 6 months ago. They arrived pathetic and nervous in a shoe-box minus one complete set of wing feathers each, but were soon reveling in the joys of the BBR theme-park style open prison. They rapidly worked out that somersaults off the sofa didn't hurt and once on the floor, they could go absolutely anywhere!!!
Sitting quietly with my TV dinner on my lap and the omnipresent Chili snoring quietly under my chin, I realised there were 2 small green creatures tucking into my baked potato. Astounded at their impudence, I (and Chili) watched fascinated as they moved rapidly onto my ankle. Several chunks of flesh and much shaking of feet later, they divided forces; one moved onto that tasty bit of skin of the inner arm, whilst the other headed for the sofa and Jerry's eyeballs. Hmmm...
Ungrateful little barstewards.
They can't go into the aviary as they will bust through the wire in milliseconds (no, not on a motorbike, thank you) and a small-cage lock-down is not an option here (even though they more than deserve it). So it appears we are destined to be subjected to the nightly gnawing of the little green monsters until they can be permanently released. Of course, before that happens, they will have to learn to fly... Gulp.