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 Animals  Belize Project #23359

Saving Belize's Birds

by Belize Bird Rescue
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Saving Belize's Birds
Red lored parrot chicks
Red lored parrot chicks

I must begin this report with a resounding Thank You to all of our GlobalGiving supporters. You are incredible, and we certainly know you have our back. Many of you may know that our biggest source of funding comes via our small B&B which was cut off at the knees in early March as a result of Covid-19. Since then we have been stunned and overjoyed at the support given by corporations, organisations and private individuals. Thank you all so much for alleviating much of the worry for our current situation.

So, yes, thanks to people like you, we are still here and as busy as ever with 163 rehab birds to care for. Personally I am busier than ever, as we are down to skeleton staff for both financial and health reasons, and of course we have no interns, which leaves yours truly to cover the shortfall. I know it’s good for me!

On a side note, the Belize Government has handled this epidemic exceptionally well, and coupled with calm and order amongst the Belizean people have managed lock down the country to keep covid cases to just 18, sadly 2 deaths, but no new positive tests since April 13th and all 16 cases now declared recovered and virus free. There are no flights whatsoever, domestic or international, and we are permitted limited in-country travel only. BBR is classed as an essential service and can attend rescues, releases and vet appointments as usual.

Belize is also experiencing drought for the second year running, which has of course brought fires. Thank you Mother Nature, we know you’re annoyed, but give us a break, will you?
Several of our intakes were rescued from the threat of fires including 3 red lored parrots and a teeny baby white-front. One of the red loreds must have leaped from his nest hole as the fire approached, and was found floating in the river (lucky, lucky bird). He unfortunately sustained a wing fracture, but this is now almost healed, thanks to our wonderful vet Dr Philip Deshield.

We also had 2 pygmy owl chicks that were in the thick of a fire and their fallen tree was doused in water by the Forest Department before they realized the birds were there. Despite this they survived and are now thriving.

We are caring for 4 boisterous barn owl nestlings, which I think are my favourite raptor. The usual story for these guys, evicted from a roof space undergoing repair. Every night they are consuming 5 rats between them, which shows what an amazing job of pest control the parents had been doing at their banana farm home. Incredible birds!

And just this weekend, I spent the day with the rangers in Payne’s Creek National Park removing 17 yellow-headed parrot chicks which were at high risk of being poached or being crushed in overcrowded nests. All are doing well and adapting to the new circumstances of their unusual journey to freedom. We post updates on our rehab cases on our Facebook page. The link is attached if you would like to follow their progress.

We hope you are doing well in whatever circumstances this epidemic has forced upon you, and thank you once again for your unwavering support and generosity for our avian rehabilitation efforts in Belize. I know I keep saying it, but we really can’t do what we do without you.

Warmest regards

Nikki & the BBR Team

Barn owl chicks (yes, 4!)
Barn owl chicks (yes, 4!)
Tiny white-front chick
Tiny white-front chick
Pygmy owl chicks
Pygmy owl chicks
Young yellow-head chick
Young yellow-head chick
Extracting chicks with TIDE
Extracting chicks with TIDE
Chicks in natural nest (Photo TIDE)
Chicks in natural nest (Photo TIDE)

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Red lored babies
Red lored babies

Hi there

As always with the first report of the year, we present a roundup of the previous 12 months.

Your support and generosity throughout 2019 helped us to rescued 244 birds, well over third of which were parrots. Another third were songbirds, toucans and woodpeckers and the remainder raptors and water-birds equally.

The majority of our parrot intakes joined our long-term rehab programme, and of the remaining species, almost 60% were successfully released. We recorded 62 hotline calls, even though time and staffing constraints mean around three quarters of our calls are resolved on the fly and we neglect to keep a record. We are trying to improve on that for 2020 and have already logged 18 calls in January alone.

Most of our parrot intakes were illegally captive and come through owner-surrenders and Forest Department confiscations. We contine with our yellow-headed parrot at-risk chick programme, and currently have 20 birds that we hand-raised last year that would otherwise have been poached or died in the nest. They are due for release back into the southern pine savannah in May, which would bring our total yellow-head releases to 122 (90 hand-raised babies and 32 ex-captive). The count carried out in 2016 estimates the population at 1200 birds, so every bird returned to the breeding population is valuable to the long-term success of this endemic sub-species.

We encountered 40 conflict patients last year, which is 40 too many. One of our major goals for 2020 is to seek grant funding for a full-time mobile education and media officer. Outreach is a crucial part of our work in Belize. Your donations already help us to reach out to the public but we are determined to do more. This is a very small country with less than 400,000 inhabitants, at least 30% of which are in some form of education, and with only a couple of national media outlets, it’s a very easy country to present insightful awareness to. Members of the public reported over half of our 244 intakes. They are our eyes and ears and it’s crucial that we continue to reach out to them for assistance.

Throughout 2019 we released 156 birds. 88 of those were parrots, including 28 endangered yellow-heads. At the end of 2019 we were caring for 148 birds most of which ex-captive parrots undergoing long-term rehabilitation.

Throughout the year we enjoyed the company and expertise of 22 interns and volunteers who between them gave us 577 days of their valuable time free of cost, for which we are forever grateful!

Apologies for the barrage of numbers but it’s important for us to let you know the positive impact that your donations make to our organisation’s work. Once again we have been completely overwhelmed by the backing and encouragement given by our GlobalGiving family. Every year your support grows and 2019 absolutely smashed previous years for donations. Thank you all so very, very much!

We will leave you with a couple of our favourite photos of 2019 and as promised, one of the baby red-foot booby we received last week.

Thank you once again for everything you do for us. We absolutely couldn’t do it without you!

Fondest regards,

Nikki & the BBR Team


Peli buddies pre-release
Peli buddies pre-release
white-front baby
white-front baby
Toucan the toucan checking out the view
Toucan the toucan checking out the view
Those yellowhead babies!
Those yellowhead babies!
Red-footed booby chick!
Red-footed booby chick!

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Dr Duane & Angie with the barn owl
Dr Duane & Angie with the barn owl

Dear all,

This last quarter has seen 39 great releases including 21 parrots, 3 red-foot boobies, 2 pelis, 4 raptors and 6 ‘garden’ birds.

We took in 43 patients, including 10 songbirds, 9 waterbirds, 7 raptors and 10 parrots, and as of today after our latest bout of releases we have ‘only’ 147 birds at the Centre undergoing rehabilitation. This is the lowest number I can remember for a good few years, which is testament to the success of the parrot rehabilitation programme and the Forest Department’s work with the licensing and enforcement programmes. Not to mention the public’s response to our plea not to take parrots from the wild. It hasn’t diminished our feed bill, however, as we are still feeding all of our releases – there are probably 40 parrots that now come in daily for feeding while they find their way around the territory. They are a noisy bunch, that’s for sure!

Our interns and volunteers right now include the wonderful Dr Duane Tom who is enjoying the slower pace of life from his usual hectic schedule of wildlife intakes at the California rescue. Plus the lovely Angela who is interning here for 3 months from Germany. They make a great team, but sadly Dr Tom leaves tomorrow and Angela will be gone before Christmas. I have certainly enjoyed the expert and consistent assistance and will miss them like crazy.

This may be a good opportunity for us to remind you of Giving Tuesday which is always a big day for us on Global Giving. I know the tax regime is not as kind to donors as it was in the past, but if you have a tax-deductible donation or a corporate matching contribution you would like to send our way, then please keep the 3rd of December in mind as there will be lots of double-up dollars and bonus dollars available through GG.

Thank you as always for your incredible and unwavering generosity and support. I am slowly getting to meet some of you through your visits to Rock Farm Guest House, and really hope to meet many, many more of you as the years go on. It’s a fabulous way to support us and you get a Belize Birdy holiday in exchange for your donation.

Thank you once again for your loyalty and encouragement. You’re always amazingly generous, and we simply couldn’t do what we do without you!

Warm regards,

Nikki & the BBR Team

Releasing the red foot boobies
Releasing the red foot boobies
Released red loreds
Released red loreds
Dr Duane checking eyes of the red lored
Dr Duane checking eyes of the red lored
One of the permanent resident red loreds
One of the permanent resident red loreds
Touca - our wonky keel-billed toucan
Touca - our wonky keel-billed toucan
Working on the barn owl
Working on the barn owl

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Yellow-heads released (Credit Dr Sophie)
Yellow-heads released (Credit Dr Sophie)

Dear all,

We are delighted to report that the end of May saw the successful release of last year’s hand-reared yellow- headed chicks. The lovely Dr Sophie accompanied these 28 birds to the National Park in the south of the country where they were finally able to fly free after 12 months of growing up. This brings our grand total of released yellow-heads to 102: more than 8% of the total global population! (and thank you Dr Sophie for the fabulous photos of them being released)

We carried out a total of 87 releases between May and July including (amongst others) 11 olive-throated parakeets, 18 red loreds, 9 owls, 4 woodpeckers, one of our baby red-foot boobies and our globe-trotting royal tern. Of our 126 intakes, 27 were released, 7 were transferred and 59 are moving through the programme. If you do the maths, you’ll see why this is our most loved and our most loathed time of year. While success stories abound, there are also many mortalities, particularly amongst the passerines (songbirds). Nature can be very cruel indeed.

As of the end of July 2019 we have 170 birds undergoing rehabilitation. One of our favourite stories for this quarter is that Bella finally has a boyfriend. Bella is our resident Blue & Gold macaw. She was captive bred for the USA pet trade, and hand-raised by humans. She’s very bonded to people and we didn’t think she would ever find a soul mate in a parrot, but along came Kat the Catalina – a huge male hybrid that we figure escaped from across the border and was flying free in northern Belize for several months. Thank goodness he was safely captured as there was definitely an effort in several of the villages he frequented to bring him down and cage him for sale. That would not have been a good outcome for him. Now he and Bella occupy one of our larger enclosures and seem to be quite content with one another. The start of something wonderful...?

We also received 16 baby white-fronts this year. They are quite possibly one of the cutest species on the planet. Sadly two of them have clipped feathers, so their recuperation will be more than 2 years, however, they are babies and it will give them time to mature and bond with their fellow rehab candidates.

A huge shout-out and thanks as always to our interns. We have just bidden farewell to the wonderful skill and company of Dr Gemma. This was her 3rd trip now to BBR, and we hope not her last. We’ve had some fabulous rehab interns throughout the season and hope to welcome more as the year goes on.

And of course, thank YOU, our donors. You know we can’t do it without you!!

By the way, you may like to watch our Facebook page for the latest rehab news, and we just advertised our new batch of ultra-soft t-shirts for sale. Put your order in quick as supplies are limited and thank you to those who have already purchased. It's a great way to support and to actually get something back other than our usual love and gratitude!

Thank you all once again for your loyal support. You’re amazing!

Nikki & the BBR Team

Released yellow-heads in trees (credit Dr Sophie)
Released yellow-heads in trees (credit Dr Sophie)
Bella & Kat
Bella & Kat
One of the white-front babies
One of the white-front babies
Released red loreds at BBR
Released red loreds at BBR
Begging baby red lored
Begging baby red lored
Dr Gemma and Evelyn (yes, that's not a bird!)
Dr Gemma and Evelyn (yes, that's not a bird!)
Ariane feeding this year's yellowhead babies
Ariane feeding this year's yellowhead babies
Gorgeous red lored
Gorgeous red lored

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Dyna
Dyna

Greetings from Belize,

A few good news updates since our last monthly report. The red lored whose eye was destroyed by a pellet or sling shot was finally released last week. It’s a difficult call to make to release a one-eyed bird of any species, but parrots have an advantage of living in a strong social structure so we hope that will compensate for his half-vision when it comes to predator awareness. He was extremely agitated in a captive situation, and birds like him are almost impossible to habituate, so we felt it only fair to give him a chance to be free again rather than condemn him to life in a cage.

We also had a visitor to one of our feeders: an un-banded white-front with a large chunk of her beak missing. She was skinny and quite desperate. She allowed herself to be caught (although now she’s stronger I bet she regrets that decision) and has been eating smoothies like there’s no tomorrow. No band means she’s either wild-born or an escaped pet. Whatever she is she encountered something strong and aggressive to have chewed up her beak like that. Oscar said it looked as if her face had been remodeled with a stick of dynamite – so that’s her name! Dyna continues to thrive and hates us for keeping her captive, but without a beak she wouldn’t last long outside.

We had a couple of fast turn-arounds which we always enjoy. One was a purple gallinule that we picked up from Orange walk. He had mild head trauma and was found wandering in the middle of the town. After first-class room and board he was released fitter and fatter a couple of weeks later. We were called out to check on a bat falcon hit by a bus in Biscayne Village. He was stunned for a few hours, but otherwise uninjured. We took the risk of releasing on site that afternoon and thankfully it worked out perfectly. We’ve also had the usual flurry of migrants heading back north that have encountered windows or vehicles along the way. We humans don’t make their difficult journey any easier, that’s for sure.

We anticipate releasing a royal tern soon, who has been with us for far too long already. He was banded in Hampton Beach, Virginia USA 7 months ago, and flew 1500 miles to Belize. Somewhere along the way he injured his food and become debilitated by parasites. He was very lucky the caring folks of The Bliss Centre in Belize City put him in a box and called on our assistance for him.

And finally, just yesterday we received 3 yellow-headed amazon chicks – our first of the season. It always breaks my heart to think of the parents returning to empty nest, but as the team in the field keep reminding me, better that we take them than the poachers. It’s still awful knowing that the parents have invested so much physical and mental resources into raising them to this 7 or 8 week stage only to return to an empty nest. I can’t imagine their heartbreak.

Thank you so much as always for your generosity and support. You make it all possible!!

Gallinule
Gallinule
Gallinule release
Gallinule release
Royal Tern
Royal Tern

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Organization Information

Belize Bird Rescue

Location: Belmopan, Cayo - Belize
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @BirdBelize
Project Leader:
Nicola Buxton
Belmopan, Cayo Belize
$47,914 raised of $55,000 goal
 
907 donations
$7,086 to go
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