Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Sloth Pictorial!

Some days I wish I was a Sloth!

I could lay around and sleep peacefully for 18 hours a day.
Suck my thumb or my blanket :)

I could hang out with my buddies or do a little Yoga!

Then Sleep some more!

Then have a little snack!

Then Sleep some more!

Wake Up!

Do a little exercise climbing around.............................Or just think about it!!!

Take time to smell the trees!

Another Snack.

Smile a lot

Lick my stuffed duck and hug my pet toucan!
and sleep even more!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It continues, but good news!

Another phone call and another car full of confiscated birds. 11 Solitares and about 15 small birds. Some sadly did not survive the first night. But the good news is that today most of the Solitares are being released up by Poas Volcano!
My biologist friend is driving a car full of the last 2 groups of confiscated birds to an area that is off the main road where there are not that many trappers.
The last two days we had children here for educational groups. When we do educational tours, someone always has a pet bird. So, we talk about the importance of taking care of the ones you have, and not purchasing more from the trappers. As always, I say, please do not give your amazons coffee and bread, and your toucan only papaya...the heads nod, giggles start, and we have an honest conversation about nutrition. Education is the only way to help our feathered friends, and the sloths, porcupines, monkeys....all wild animals of Costa Rica :)

A good day for a bath!

It is a little cloudy today and the air feels heavy...a great day for a bath according to our birds!

When the weather is moist, they automatically know it's a good day to get wet, and relish in a great bath. The little owls bathe themselves while splashing around a nice bowl full of water, while the parrots enjoy a good rainstorm or a spray bottle bath.

The toucans do both! They love a good rainstorm and they also jump into their water bowls, then begin to scratch their beaks to clean them off! Water is extremely important to birds and their feathers. I remember years ago, I adopted an African Grey parrot who we named Jackson. He was about 1 1/2 years old and looked like he had never had a bath! His feathers were sticky, he smelled and you could see the ear holes in his head since the feathers were so thin around his face. Now, he is originally genetically from the Congo African Rain forest, so he should like rain. He hated bathing. Little by little I sprayed him, every few days and made it into a fun game so that he would not be scared of the water, and now he loves to bathe. Birds in captivity need to be taught to like water, it is good for their health and most native birds enjoy bathing. Feather health depends on it, and good feathers regulate heat in birds which is very important.
When I was in the Peruvian rain forest studying the macaws, we saw them bathe as well. Once on a trail we came across this Black Hawk Eagle and he was having a nice lunch of some rodent. Other tourists stayed for a few minutes to watch and take photos. I stayed until he finally flew away (about an hour) long enough to see what he did after he ate and had a nice mess of rodent parts hanging around. He jumped off the log he was on into a small creek and took the most fantastic bath. I felt privileged to be witness to such an event.

So remember that if you have birds in your care, a good bath is always welcomed and much needed! If you have pet parrots, turn on some good music, get out the spray bottle and have a fun bathing dancing session!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Confiscated by Fish and Wildlife, very Sad

These young parrots were part of a group of 7 parrots, and 10 small song birds that were confiscated by Minae last week. We received a call from one of the representatives down south to see if we would accept these birds, because he had called all around and everyone had refused to accept he was really counting on us helping, so of course we said yes. The officer of Minae had to get up at 5 am and drive for 4 hours to bring these birds to us. He is very dedicated. He opened the back of the car and you can see what I saw:

These little song bird, seed eaters were given to my biologist friend to try and release. He has a farm in the middle of the country where he has a mobile cage set up over grasses that these birds eat (seeds of the grass) and so he puts them in there and watches their progress and eventually has been able to release birds this way :)

Poop, poop, poop, sunflower seed and dirty horrible conditions.

This little one is very ill and completely emaciated...we started a protocol of hand feeding and antibiotics to see if we can get her to gain some weight and make progress.
I think the folks that had these birds thought that since the bird had feathers it was OK to be on it's own, but this one is still a baby that needs hand feeding. No telling how long he has been without food, he is extremely weak. Luckily for him, he has a buddy that is showing him how to eat and keeping him warm!
We think these are young Crimson fronted parakeets, when they are older we will know for sure.
Then there is this cute trio of Orange chinned parakeets, they look pretty good, have horrible wing clips, but generally are much better than the others. They have not stopped eating and started to fight for the food when they first came. Now they are settling down and eating normally, like happy little parrots.

And finally this Mealy Amazon came in from the University Vet School, he has been some ones pet for a long time, but they dropped him off at the school saying they want him to be free. If only it was that easy. He has been in captivity for his whole life, he does not seem that young and is totally used to humans and probably would not have a clue as to how to survive. For days he just sat in the cage with his head down...and it was really bothering me, then I realized that he was used to being in such a small cage he did not raise his head! Very sad, but I do think I am right. He has been here for three weeks and now eats fresh food (which he was scared of at first), is playing with toys and holding his head higher :)

This is the SAD REALITY that these birds live, at the abuse of us humans. They should be free and not having to live this way. These are the "lucky" ones that ended up here where we can help and love them, however for every group like this there are many more that are dying in captivity, going to the pet trade.
PLEASE help us HELP these! Adopt a parrot today!!! Your donation can help in so many ways.
Thank you all for your support, they really need our help! If you are on Facebook or any other mailing lists, please post this so that everyone can see and the more people that see our page, the more help we might receive.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Great birding and sloths at the farm!

Male Scarlet tanager(non-breeding Feathers) Golden-hooded Tanager

Male and female Green Honeycreepers

We managed to escape to the farm for an overnight mini vacation! It was great to get away, although we are always nervous to leave everyone behind! It rained so hard on the way there crossing the mountain pass rain forest that we almost turned around and the same on the way home, but we made it!

That night it poured down rain so hard I was a little nervous about crossing the bridge that goes over 2 creeks on our property, but by morning it was sunny again.

Collared Aracaris

I had breakfast on the porch of our little ranch house and had company at the feeders! and in the trees! I woke up to the song of Swainson's toucans and then sat and watched Mealy amazons have breakfast of guavas in the tree in front of the house.

Then I took a hike around the farm, which is 15 acres while Jorge went in to the other farm that is 25 acres. I found a tree in fruit which was FULL of birds! Then while I stayed there to take photos and work on identification there was a young three toed sloth coming down a tree right next to me. The howler monkeys were in the bamboo over the creek and I was in Paradise!

Then up a bit on the other side of the creek I found this older sloth so green from all the moss trying to dry out in the sun.

Beautiful day, I am so lucky to have the farms, and just an hour drive from the main house!

When I went to pick star fruits to bring home this Chestnut-colored Woodpecker was right in front of me!

Enjoy the photos.

P.S. New Mealy Amazon, new crimson fronted parakeet and 5 parrots and several small birds coming in tomorrow from down we shall see what shows up! Will keep you posted.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5.9 Quake!

Friday night around 8:00pm I was sitting on the bed and it started to shake a bit, Jorge, my husband came into the room and I said "Earthquake!" He looked at me dubiously, then it got stronger and he said, quake! by then all the birds in the bird room were frantic, the whole house started to shake and we got up and opened the front door and it stopped! I ran into the pet bird room to calm them down, they were fine after a few minutes, a quick check of the sloth's revealed they did not even notice...of course, and then outside to the large flights where the toucans were frantic. It is a horrible sensation to stand there with a flashlight and try to get them to calm down when they are throwing themselves against the cages. We turned on outside lights and I went cage by cage, picking up stressed out birds and praying that come morning I was not going to find any dead. The key was to calm a group of four Swainson's toucans down because they were causing all the others to stress out. Mission accomplished I yelled to Jorge to turn off the lights. The macaws outside continued for a bit then finally settled down. I walked the whole property to check on the 11 owls and they all seemed to be fine.
The next morning as I lay in bed I listened for the familiar songs of all the birds and was relieved to hear the macaws screaming, and the toucans singing. A quick round at 5:30am revealed that everyone survived and seemed to be fine. "Gracias a Dios" Thank God, is what we say for everything here in Costa Rica!

Later in the day I noticed my little blind Rainbow lorikeet was not feeling well, not eating, so I reeled the cage inside and have her with heat and started antibiotics, just in case...I don't know if the stress from the quake affected her or falling in the cage from the startle. Today she is at least eating and looking a bit better.
My first year here in Costa Rica, years ago, we had a 5.5 quake in the night and one of the toucans was really stressed out. Several days after the quake he died of a very small hemorrhage that probably occurred when he hit the cage all stressed out from the one never forgets those horrible circumstances and of course tries to prevent them from ever occurring again.

In the wild the birds would just fly off into the tress I guess. Although I did not notice any wild birds flying around the other night. We did have 10 replicas all in the 2 and 4 range on the scale, so that is why the birds took time to settle down.

We have a new mealy Amazon parrot, who came in from the University Vet. School, will write about him soon! He is out on the porch screaming with the other 2 amazons...the noise, fun and stress never stops!