Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in Paradise - is basically bl**dy nice!

Christmas came and went with copious quantities of food and drink for us, and extra rations of goodies for the birds: sugarcane, green beans, precious yellow corn on the cob, papaya... And were they grateful? Not a bit of it.
Chili has enjoyed the attention of visitors: so many extra fingers around to bite. Chili is our current resident cling-on. Every so often we get a bird that fixates on one of us and refuses to be separated. Rather like a encouraging a child to say its first words, then spending the next 18 years telling it to be quiet, we will encourage a clingy bird to fly by standing just out of reach until it makes that first flight to our shoulder. We then spend then next couple of months tiptoeing past the cage or tree, or running into the house for five minutes peace before he spots us. Chili is now at the stage where he will fly the 500 yards to the river to get to me, so there is very little escape time in the day. Typing this post he 'helps' by dismantling my pen collection and decorating my shirt with chewed corn, and worse... He insists on cuddles all evening and flies onto the bed the minute the bedroom door is opened in the morning. This may seem contradictory to the aims of our programme, but in fact this behavior doesn't seem to effect their release - to the contrary in fact. Mr P was our last cling-on, and Basil before him. Both are now wild and free. It's almost like the affectionate child - loves mum & dad but still ends up leaving home as a well-adjusted little creature.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A rainy day in paradise

And with the rain comes the noise. Anyone who has been to a zoo or bird park on such a day will know what I mean. A day of screaming and squawking for all concerned; 12 parrots, 8 guinea fowl, 6 geese, 17 turkeys and around 120 assorted ducks and chickens. Yes, we are quite mad.

Yesterday I noticed great improvement in Spike - he spread his wings for a shower and almost all of the tattered shafts have disappeared - replaced by glorious new pristine growth. A dumbed-down version of Spikes' liberation can be found on This picture is of Spike a couple of days after we got him. The condition of his feathers are the result of neglect and ignorance. For 2 years he was forced to sit on the floor of a tiny cage. Above him, on the only perch, sat two other parrots. Naturally Spike took the brunt of what came from above and was unable to keep himself clean (or sane). Now, 5 months later, apart from his sporadic bursts of 'excerpts from Nickelodeon' you would almost think he was a normal red lored. We witnessed a flight attempt a week or two ago - there is still a definite downward curve, but little by little he improves. It's the simple things that keep us going. We are planning to release two of the white-fronted this week. It's the perfect time of year and they seem to be keen to be off. We shall see...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Somewhere in the Middle

I wish we had started this blog at the very beginning... but we had no idea that our lives would take this turn. Instead, the story will start 5 years on and we will probably regurgitate lumps of the past whenever events of the present day are too dull to recite.
To bring you up to date: we moved to Belize in 2004, started with 2 parrots (red loreds, for those of you that care) and realised that we loved parrots, that parrots love us (or our food, probably) and that, given sufficient time and care a captive, miserable wretch of an abused dying parrot can be returned to the wild as a healthy, happy, procreating specimen of its species. 5 years later we have cared for and/or released 34 parrots, 8 owls and several other wild birds and we are now just getting serious.
What can I say? Watch this space... and in the meantime check out the website: