One lucky white-front
The first quarter of 2021 followed our familiar pattern of barn owls, pelicans and lost ‘pet’ parrots, interspersed with “who knows what’s next”. We’ve treated 70 patients so far this year with over half of those coming in through April.
We’re raising 4 adorable pygmy owls after their tree-cavity home was destroyed in a freak storm. The mom abandoned the site unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the home owner to re-nest. Of our 15 barn owls this year, we lost two due to injuries, 4 are not yet fledged and the remaining 9 have been released.
Our tiniest patient was a nestling rufous-tailed hummingbird who was rescued from the mischief of a domestic cat. He is now enjoying his second chance life around the BBR property.
We’ve been making excellent use of our new truck for rescues, especially for our 9 lost parrots. The saddest case is a white-fronted adult female that suffered such neglect in captivity she had a bacterial infection and parasite issues, weighed only 119g (typical weights 180-220) and had a wing and leg fracture in her weak bones caused by chronic nutritional deficiencies. Her escape is a miracle, her discovery in a low bush in a small Cayo village is even more miraculous. She is quite the fighter!
Other lost pets, although not in as poor shape as this one, are equally as fortunate to have escaped to be discovered by someone who knows to call us, and not just decide to recapture the bird.
We took our new truck on its first trip down south to the yellow-headed Amazon nesting grounds in Payne’s Creek National Park to carry out a long-overdue overhaul of our release enclosure. It was a long and brutally hot day. Every time I visit I am in awe of the work that the TIDE rangers do in that area with nest monitoring and protection, anti-poaching efforts, fire control and replanting management.
Only a few days later, our truck was back again to pick up the first at-risk chicks of the season. Mario, the Head Ranger had decided to extract these chicks due to a high risk of predation – the old nest tree cavity was completely exposed and open to both aerial and land predators. It’s always a difficult call to make, but we completely trust Mario’s judgement based on decades of experience.
A fourth chick was brought in by the Belize Bird Conservancy monitoring team – this little guy was so tiny they feared his huge siblings would squash him or out-compete him for food. It’s rare that more than two birds fledge from these cavities in the best of circumstances, so this was also a good decision. Relocating was explored, but there were no other nests containing only one chick of comparable size.
We also received a gorgeous olive-throated parakeet chick which sadly came down in a legal logging operation. As always we are truly thankful that people call us rather than selling or keeping these birds as pets.
So into the hard dry season we go, with temperatures rising and water in short supply for the wildlife of the country. It’s a hard life for these birds, and we are as always forever grateful to you all for providing us with the means to help them. We couldn’t do any of this without your generosity and support, and this year we are exceptionally grateful for our reliable vehicle which is entirely down to you. It is a complete joy to be able to relax on every journey, knowing we will make it there and back successfully!
With our warmest regards,
Nikki and the BBR Team.
Three more 'lost pets'
Enclosure refurbish in Payne's Creek
Pygmy owl babies
Three at-risk chicks extracted by TIDE
Tiny next to his giant siblings