Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scarlet Honeyeaters are rarely seen in aviculture. Keeping them successfully requires a large commitment in time and experience.~ Mr Wiki

I live somewhere where there are birds ~ lots & lots of birds.  In fact I know, because I used to record them for the environmental mob, that there are easily over 200 species that can be spotted from my verandah.  Some, like the curlews, are permanent residents.  Others are transitory migrants following their own internal clock.  Some, like the rose robins, may be gone for good.

During the drought the constant bird song was absent from our tree tops but with the first breaking showers they were back: the magpies & trillers, the peewees & fantails.  Later the delicate flycatchers could be seen hunting the spider bags of food from under the eves & then!  Then I spotted the scarlet flashes high in the golden dazzle of new leaf & sunshine.  The scarlet honeyeaters are back.

The scarlets are migratory.  They are eco sensitive.  They like the tops of the high canopy & usually all that can be seen of them is the scarlet flash as the males pursue the females & squabble for nectar.  They make me happy.

What does not make me happy is the heavy thwack that tells me a bird has hit our big glass windows.  I own cats.  The thwack is the signal for everyone in the house to race outside checking for an injured bird before one of the cats finds a tasty & helpless morsel. 

Last week there was a loud & alarming thwack.  I shot out of my chair knowing both cats were outsideThere on my deck were two tiny scarlet honeyeaters; the bright male & his stunned & dowdy partner.  As I slid open the door the male hurriedly collected his scattered wits & took off for the tree tops but the female was in a bad way.  Her eyes rolled shut as I scooped her up & she huddled down into the warmth of my hand, her little heart visibly palpitating agitatedly.

I waited, her tiny talons clinging trustfully to my fingers, her body soaking up the thin warmth of my cupped hands as they sheltered her from the wind.  I am always stunned, overwhelmed, that one of God's creatures, normally so wild, so afraid of human kind, will allow itself to be held & sheltered in extremity.

Twenty minutes later I coaxed her onto a long thin twig of wattle where she swayed dizzily like a seasick sailor as the wattle waved wildly.  I watched anxiously as she hurriedly clutched the twig more firmly for support.  Every time her eyes began to close again her twig bounced & danced & she hurriedly got a better grip on her perch.  A few moments later, as I was fiddling about with the camera, she decided she'd had quite enough of me & shot of into the treetops.

Kirby thought my hands smelt very interesting!


Julie B. said...

People can get smashed up in accidents and I feel sorry for them, but if animals or birds are hurt, I feel devastated, Ganeida. That poor bird! How kind and gentle you were with her....God bless you, dear one.

Ganeida said...

Julie, I know it's weird but I feel worse for animals. One can't explain ~ & usually they are innocent victims.