I have shiny new wire on two of the three aviaries: Happy New Year to me. The first occupant was yet another toucan, this one was found wandering around Belmopan by the cable guy, who decided it would look great in a cage. Luckily for the bird, the cable guy was working on the home of a Humane Society member at the time, who assured him that toucan-capturing was a hanging offence. The nameless toucan got a quick vet check-up, good food, a place to leap around and practice flying and was released without fanfare on site on New Year’s Day. He hopped out of his cage, onto the ladder of the flight aviary, on to a support beam and then flew off into the bush.
We never did find out why he was walking: maybe he was a late fledgling that needed some flight training, or had been clipped by a car and bruised, or just fancied Christmas in the country for a change.
Jerry got a black and white hawk eagle for Christmas. He was another sling-shot victim ($2.50 in A&R - we should club together, buy the lot and burn them on the PM’s desk)
Thanks to a sympathetic local who convinced the idiot with the sling-shot not to ‘finish off’ the bird with his boot, this magnificent bird is rested, his bruises are healed, he flies just fine, thank you very much, and is more than ready to go back home. There is tremendous interest in this creature as it’s very rare in Belize. In an unamusing show of Mother Nature’s irony, one of its faves for lunch is the equally rare orange breasted falcon.
For the last month we’ve been nursing a sick cockatoo. After a lot of trial and error and help from vets, we have found a treatment that seems to be doing the trick and on Dec 29th we celebrated her first proper poop in 32 days: we really are very sad people. Amazingly, the weight gain and return to normal behaviour happened within minutes of that monumental poop. She’s going up 5g a day and screams like a B-movie actress, which is entertaining for about 5 minutes or so.
Poor Bibi who was another sling-shot victim back in August, eventually had to have his eye removed. His undoing was that he chose to roost near a building that is occupied by (comments have been removed by moderator). Whoever shot him was trying to recapture him, and even got the scissors to his feathers. I sincerely hope Bibi managed to remove some fingers before he escaped and found his way home. This particular ‘person’ is also attributed with stealing 4 recently donated bags of expensive parrot chow. Nice fellow.
Anyway, after this horrible incident I finally realised that my on-site releases are not going to work consistently enough to continue risking birds, much as it’s great for data gathering. Some friends have a 300 acre property that backs onto a protected area on the Coastal Highway, and they are now moved in and almost ready to receive the first batch of releases. Their Christmas present to BBR will be 50% of the funding for the pre-release cage. Bless you guys! That said, I did break under the pressure and released the white-fronts on site. They were going nuts with the wild birds passing over so regularly and were so ready to leave home. One pair scarpered over the hills and far away with the wild bunch, and the remaining 4 are back and forth periodically for a sunflower-seed fix. Good news all round there.
The final new arrival of the season: a cute red lored baby who flew right into a friend’s dining room during supper time. It’s obviously a lucky escapee: she had a leg injury which appears to be improving daily, she’s in bad condition with stress bars and malnourishment apparent in the feathers and she thinks that the horrible noise that red-loreds make when they’re frightened or in pain is acceptable speech. She’s had me running to her quarantine cage three or four times a day to see what monster has her in its clutches, at which point she’ll laugh at me. The things people do to parrots…