Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Birds also have family ties

I once caged a dove overnight because it was injured and could not fly. I noticed two other doves near the cage. The dove would desperately try to get out. The cage was at ground level and I would put birdseed on the outside of the cage for the other two to come and eat and then the one on the inside will feed simultaneously.

On the third day I let the dove out during the day. The other two would remain around her.

The dove got so used to returning to her cage for the night, that it became unnecessary to catch her. She would hop into the cage to retire for the night while the “male and chick” settled in a nearby tree.

I did not know for how long this would be necessary. Unfortunately I adopted a young dog from the nearby squatter camp and he killed the dove as it entered the cage to settle for the night. One cannot domesticate nature without pain.

After this experience I moved the cage within a fenced area. Dogs and cats could not get to it but the doves were free to come and go as they please.

I saved many doves, by locking them up in a safe place for the night if they cannot climb to a branch of a tree for the night.

Later I created low climbers for injured doves to get to the trees. They would hop from one low object to another until they get to the branches of the trees, then it is just a matter of hopping from one branch to another.

We also built an open nest on a pole where we would put nestlings that prematurely fell from a nest. It is always wonderful to see the parents feeding their chick after finding it, then coaxing it into the nearby tree. People so often remove fully feathered nestlings from where the parents can feed them.

It is my belief that birds have a better chance it they are left out in an environment that is natural to them.

When it comes to any bird or animal, stress remains the biggest killer.

Few people have the ability to create such an environment for birds.

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