Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Birds of a Feather

As I have stated in past blogs, we brought 4 tropical birds with us to the island and while here adopted one more bird, a Yellow-Naped Amazon, Lupita, when her owner lost his home and returned to the U.S. after Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Since that time we have acquired many bird friends; hummingbirds, of which there are two varieties on the island: a Fork-Tailed Emerald and Green-Breasted Mango. We started out with a couple feeders and gradually, over the years, built up to a total of 6-7 at any one time. going through about 12 lbs. of sugar a week. More and more hummingbirds have arrived and some even stay through the year ignoring their instinct to migrate. Of course this keeps my husband and I very busy keeping up with the feeding of the birds.

On the 17th of June, our worker found a baby bird that had evidently fallen out of its nest. My husband and I went back to check out the little guy and found that 1) the bird was about 2 weeks old due to the small amount of pin feathers it had, 2) the nest was too high in the tree to reach and put him back and 3) ants were starting to attack the poor little guy.

So, we did what was necessary - took him in. Since we feed our parrots a variety of foods, one of which is a processed, hard nugget which is vitamin enriched, we decided to grind up this nugget, add mango juice or water (depending upon what was available) and feed the little guy through a syringe. My husband and I had raised two of our parrots in the states this way, so we were familiar with what to do.

Luckily, we were successful and the baby took to the tube attached to the syringe like a duck to water! Since that time he has been growing, getting feathers and is now flying. He is a little bigger than a hummingbird and we are not sure what type of bird he is. At first my husband thought he was a Yellow Breasted Fly Catcher as the nest suspended from the tree looked like it may have belonged to that family. However, this bird is much smaller than the ones we have checked out on the Internet. Right now he is about 2" tall and it doesn't seem like he will get much bigger. My husband has seen what he feels are similar birds feeding on a wild hot pepper bush but has been unable to get a photograph of them.

Originally I named him Jumpin Jack Flash because he was hopping around so much. I renamed him Twitter because of all the peeping he makes when we walk up to the cage he is now housed in or when he is getting ready to be fed. Plus, we were spending a lot of time on the computer watching the political unrest and were constantly being referred to "Twitters". I thought that this was an appropriate name. He eats well is flying short distances and eventually will build up his muscles for longer flights.

We are now in the process of teaching him to eat on his own by putting ground up dried food in his cage along with some seeds. Eventually, our goal is to get him to eat on his own, know where his cage and food are and then open the door and let him fly out into the wild. If he can't forage on his own, the cage will be there for him to return to and get his food.

This may or may not work, but at least we gave him the opportunity at a life; better than being eaten by ants!


  1. Sharon,

    I've enjoyed reading your blogs. Linda said you were a great writer. Anyway, take care and keep us informed of conditions in Guanaja. Hope to get to finally meet you one day.


    Linda T. Collins

  2. Your bird baby is so cute! I'm glad you took care of him.

  3. That's awesome Sharon! Be sure to post updates as he grows please!! And again thanks for the info on boats to from Trujillo the other day!