Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Mike the Kite flies again!

On August 24th we received a notification of a Facebook post by John (Trip) Tripodi regarding a hook-billed kite that he had rescued. Several people alerted us to the post: we love the power of social media!

Eventually the connection was made, and Sarah travelled to Pamona village in the Stann Creek District, and 'braved the mountain' to meet Trip and take delivery of the bird.
The view from Trip's 'roost' (photo Sarah Mann)

Mike's taxi down the hill (photo Sarah Mann)

Mike the Kite had been shot: the pellet hitting close to his collar bone but miraculously missing bones and air sacks. He was going to be a challenge: not only was he a picky eater (he would only eat a certain species of snail that lived high in the bush canopy) he was wild and very unhappy with his situation.
A very sad looking bird (photo Sarah Mann)
the injury to Mike's chest (photo Sarah Mann)

Poor Mike endured prodding and poking, surgery at Animal Medical Centre, being force-fed disgusting non-snail-like food, undignified catching and medicating daily and being confined in a small crate with only himself for company.

Mike's preferred food
No, no - not the mouse, please not the mouse...
You WILL eat this!
 But... after this lengthy and somewhat challenging rehab process he was healed, of a good weight and very, very ready to be on his way.

The problem was, Mike was here in Belmopan and he really needed to be over 150 miles away in Punta Gorda to be ready for his migration.
As luck would have it, while negotiating a complicated flight through the local airlines, we were lucky enough to secure a free ride to Punta Gorda with some very obliging gentlemen. Talk about right place, right time.
Mike was duly crated for transport and within 2 hours was on the ground in PG and very soon after back out in the wild where he belongs. Result!

Kate Morton and soon-to-be released Mike the Kite (photo Ian Morton)

He's in there somewhere! (photo Ian Morton)

Good luck, Mike! (photo Ian Morton)

Its a nice story, and a happy ending for what would otherwise have been certain death for Mike. But it got me thinking how many people were involved in getting this bird from 'shot' to 'released'

1. 'Trip', the rescuer and original Facebook poster
2. Belmopan Humane Society - the first of many to alert us to the post
3. Sarah Mann, 'braving the mountain'
4. Trip's workers bringing the bird down via ATV and tractor
5. Dr Philip DeShield performing some rather neat surgery
6. Excellent diet and ecology advice from Jonathan Urbina (Peregrine Fund)
7. A valiant attempt  to get Mike to eat non-snail meat by Jan Meerman (bringing the correct empty snail shells for stuffing! Mike was not fooled...)
8. Sarah, Oscar and Kaitlyn taking superb care of Mr Mike throughout his rehab
9. The lovely gentlemen who shall remain nameless who provided the air taxi to PG
10. Ian & Kate Morton of Hickatee Cottages who welcomed Mike to PG and found a beautiful release site for him.

Thank you to one and all. We are, as always so very grateful for such support.
As with so many of the great success stories from BBR's Rescue Centre, we rarely do it alone!


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