Sunday, July 10, 2011

About time too

Blogging is a bit like that phone call to your mad Auntie. You know you should do it, but you keep putting it off until it’s way past the time when a simple apology will do. I’m just going to pretend I tried to blog a hundred times, but the power went out, or the internet went down, or there was a bird emergency…

Through no fault of my own, I have ended up with volunteers. Ordinarily the very mention would cause an outbreak of hives, but surprisingly enough they are rather helpful and quite pleasant to have around. What they think of me really doesn’t matter: as I have to constantly remind them, they are doing it for the birds. In my grudging, half-complimentary way I would like to say a public thank you to Amanda for her knowledge and practical administering amongst my indecisive ditherings, and Hayley who didn’t even like birds when she got here and only came for a holiday to visit my daughter. Thanks ladies – lovely job.

So, what have we been up to? Well, we now have 5 yellow-heads, all of them totally bonkers and I am pretty sure they are all different sexes (yes, of course there are 5 sexes of yellow-head). We released 6 red lored and 2 white-fronts in May, but even so we still have 43 birds in total, which is quite ridiculous. Thankfully, 16 of them are on the downhill slope to release. Another six are living in the house with us, for pity's sake, and three of those are cockatoos. Don't ask. And no, it's not funny. We’ve had broken things that, thanks to Isabelle-The-Vet, we've managed to fix, and some that sadly, we haven’t. We’ve had baby parrots and older parrots and some things that weren’t even parrots at all. The highlight of that category has to be Arnold, a baby armadillo who’s mother had become someone’s lunch and who in turn was destined to be an Early Learning toy for some bored children. Arnold came from Maya Center, a village adjoining Cockscombe Basin which is next on my list for a stern lecture on Wildlife in the Wild. Since his arrival at less than a week old, Arnold has stuffed himself on a mix of dairy, eggs and cat food and has doubled in size in a month. Even so, he still fits in the palm of one hand.

In May we had a 'Night Out For The Birds' fundraiser. A huge thanks to everyone who came, helped out, donated and supported and particularly to the British High Commission who donated so much including the fabulous venue. Final count was just short of $6000bz which got our broken aviaries up and running and should give us enough to make a good start on the yellowhead aviary.

Excitement this week as we tested out our new soft-release site. We decided that Bibi & Daphne would be first to go – not that they are good release candidates or even appropriate release candidates, but because they are so bad at being captives. Bibi is the red lored who had an argument with our neighbours’ sling-shot at the expense of his eye and Daphne is his inappropriate white-fronted girlfriend. Since they spend most of their day tying to escape, we figured they would be happier hanging out in the bush, miles from any humans with murderous intent. The owners of the property are fully aware that these are ‘parrots’ and that they will ‘make noise’ so I have high hopes for this relationship. It seems that researchers have observed parrots with eye issues doing very nicely in the wild, and since Bibi will be fed, watered and sheltered if he chooses, then this is the best option for a shot at a wild existence. I just hope the babies get Daphne’s brains.

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