21 October 2016

Summary of the Hope saga 2012 - 2016

I was looking through forgotten blogs when I realized that the Hope story died out long before it came to an end. I shall try to bring it up to date.   I think hope should be renamed Hopeless.   Hope turned out to be a He and since he torn his wing, we renamed him Vlerkie.
To cut a long story short, we relocated while Hope was still being hand-fed.   We moved to the country and Hope adjusted very well to his new environment.  He hated his cage and wanted to sit on our shoulders all the time.
We got so used to him sitting there, that we forgot about him, and one day when I went outside, he got a fright and flew away.
He tried to get into neighbor's homes, but they chased him away.  He tried to sit on people's heads and they shooed him away.   He was taken to another town by someone, who released him.  Later he was found half dead by someone who kept him in a cage with other birds.
One very windy day, two birds arrived in our yard.   It was clear that one of them did not know how to settle in a tree and tried to find somewhere to sleep inside a store room.  The bird loved our cat like Hope used to.
I tried to catch him but he flew into a bush.
I could not find him and thought he must have flown away, but two days later I saw him sitting under the same bush with a very badly torn wing.
I tried to patch his wing up but he just pecked  all attempts to stabilize into a tangled mess.
At the same time, a neighbor gave me a nestling who was blown out of the nest by the same bird who blew Hope back to our town.
Hope's mate was hanging around the cage for a long time until she died from and injury one night.
Hope and the other bird eventually paired.   We named the other bird Nessie.
Because both my caged doves were abandoned, they only fed their only chick for a while and when we found the chick dead in the cage one day we discovered that he was starving to death.
I think, trying to save baby birds can be a very sad story.
We still have Hope with the torn wing (He can not fly at all) and Nessie who really wants to fly.
I am not sure how this story is going to end, but it hurts me to see them in the cage.
Hope was a happy little bird while he interacted with us, but he lost his trust for humans while he was lost.
Nessie was never free.





03 March 2012

Day 5 - Feeding HOPE

3 March 2012
Hope has become part of our daily routine.   She is the smallest bird I ever tried to feed.   Our relationship is like studying at the university for bird feeding.   We are both learning to understand each other.   After studying what to feed a 2-3 day old baby laughing dove, and viewing a few u-tube demonstrations, I stumbled onto a method of feeding which does not end up redecorating the bird with pro-nutro every time it gets fed.  I was also worried about the pressure I put on the bird’s eyes when I tried to keep the little head still enough to force its beak open so I could aim the small nozzle of a two ml syringe into the back of her throat.

The discovery happened at about feed three and has been described in the previous post.  I think it is such a major discovery that I am repeating it again.
For decades I tried to feed baby birds with no success because they ended up dying from stress.
I wanted to make a bib to stop the redecoration of the bird with pro-nutro during feeds so I cut a little slit into a tissue.  It was just big enough for its beak, but not the head, to fit through the slit.  
The sensation of the tissue around the beak must be similar to when the parent dove feeds it because she opens her beak immediately without me having to restrain her head. No stress for either of us, just an open beak sticking out of the slit in the tissue for me to deliver the food in.   
I make a few slits at a time so Hope gets a new slit with every mouth-full.
It is so easy that I totally overfed her on the first day.  She looked like a little cup-cake with a head decorated on it.

I have learned to give her only two mls. per feed then I wait for her to stir.   It is also easier to use a mall syringe than a larger one.  I use a 3 ml syringe.   It is much easier to judge the amount one gives at any one time.
Pro-nutro or baby serial is a good first-aid feed until you had time to discover what type of food the adult birds eat and then try and give the appropriate feeds.   The Internet is full of advice on what to feed your birds.
Presently I feed hope alternatively on pro-nutro mixed with water to a paste and Pro-nutro, mixed with a mixture of (egg yolk, about a 20th bit of grated calcium tablet (very little) and little water) which I keep in the fridge.   I just dunk the filled syringe in a cup of boiling water for one second and test the temperature on the inside of my arm to make sure it is body temperature.  
Cold water may give your bird an upset tummy, which will make her restless.  It will then be difficult to tell if she is hungry or has gastric upset.

I placed hope on a clean tissue in a little wooden lined pudding bowl into a cage.   My sister simply put her little bird into a shoebox with holes at the top.
I just happened to have thermometers and a small aromatherapy bulb etc.  My sister placed her little bird on a heated padded beanbag in the shoebox and he survived just as well.

They need food, shelter and warmth in cooler weather.   Perhaps if you live in Brisbane in the middle of summer, heat would not be an issue.

The tissue makes nappy change time easily.

Another thing I do is to examine her droppings.  It is easier on the tissue.

1.    Too solid or no poop means not enough food or water in the feed, or both.

2.    Green runny poop means either stress or infection.    Find ways of relieving stress and make sure the feeding utensils are clean (washed with soapy water and rinsed) and the mixed food is kept in the refrigerator between feeds.  Warm cold food by dunking the syringe into a cup of boiling water for one second and then testing the temperature on a sensitive part of your body like the inside of your arm.

3.    Yellow runny stools may mean too much water in the food mixture or too much food or both.

4.    Frequent stools may mean any of above but can also mean overfeeding.

A healthy bird should be alert and begging for food when hungry.  A lethargic bird has less chance of survival.   

Do not give your baby bird more food than its own body weight.   Overfeeding can cause tummy pain and the bird may be begging for more food, which just makes every thing worse.   Your baby bird should be growing a bit bigger every day.

I hope this advice will help someone.   The advice may not be scientific, or even the ideal but it works for tiny Hope and me so far.  I hope that it will work for you as well.

Read about the different types of food for birds here:  http://africananimals.blogspot.com/2012/03/feeding-baby-birds.html

02 March 2012

Day 4 - Little Hope the laughing dove chick


Tiny Hope survived the night.  I worked out a method of feeding by cutting a tiny slit into a tissue and put its beak through it.   It does not only serve as a bib but as soon as the beak goes through the tissue, she opens her beak and the feeding can begin.  There is a long road ahead and I am not sure how we will be releasing her to the outside world, or if we ever will be able to.
We saw a laughing dove with his one wing broken or dislocated and the other without feathers.  Miraculously he can still fly, so I decided not to catch him.  I shall just make feeding easier.   Was it the Hope’s mommy trying to defend her chick from being attacked by the much bigger Red-eyed dove?   Nature can be so very cruel.   We, humans are striving above this cruelty, most of us, but we still kill animals for sport and food.

Day 3 - Little Hope the laughing dove chick

Hubby came back from doing some chores at work and found that the nest was empty.
We immediately presumed that the red-eyed doves, which I photographed earlier, were the culprits.
We scanned the ground below the nest, and there the little bird was sitting on the ground.
It fell this long distance twice and survived and again another time when Hubby misjudged judged the angle of his yogurt tub scoop.
We are becoming experts at putting birds back into nests.   We no longer need ladders, which were a great disturbance for the other birds, but used a longer pole.

It has been over an hour since the chick was put back into the nest and the parent has not returned.  The little featherless chick was quite cold when I picked it up.  I hope it does not die from exposure after all this effort.
One thing that I have learned is to give birds lots of patience and disturb them as little as possible.  Even a tamed bird can take fright from too keen an attempt to help.
I shall name this little bird Hope.
We discussed the problem with Little Hope and decided to remove the chick from the nest and try and hand-rear it.    We cannot watch it all the time and the next time the Red-eyed doves return, it may peck it to death.

Day 2 Tiny Hope

We then noticed how she was sitting higher and thought that there must be a chick in the nest.   We did detect baby birds by the sound coming from the trees, but did not know if it came from that particular nest.
There has been a lot of fighting in our garden around the time that Tiny Tim was found on the ground.   

Hubby noticed a red-eyed dove fighting with the laughing dove in the nest.
After a long time we saw the red-eyed dove pecking the baby and throw it out of the nest.

Using two ladders, each time finding out that the nest is just too short, and later using a long pole with a plastic yogurt container at the end as a scoop, we managed to get the bird back in the nest

Day One: The saga of little Hope (Baby Laughing dove)

The saga of Tiny Hope

18-01-2012  (Will need to consult my photographs for the right date.)
The beginning
While photographing the Tiny Tim saga, we noticed laughing-doves nesting in one of the big trees.
We noticed that the mother nearly never leaves the nest to feed, which we thought was rather dedicated.   Later we realized that it was the presence of the big Red-eyed doves that forced this dedication.

We had Tiny Tim, then Tiny Ronnie and now Tiny Hope. because Mommy say the poor chick has a snowball's hope to survive. Daddy it's hopeless.