Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This morning Jasper jumped through the window with something clenched in his mouth. I dived on him and grabbed it. It was this small Bananaquit ... still warm, body motionless, little heart thumping, beak open and gasping for life. I held it and gently stroked its upturned belly, giving comfort in what appeared to be its last moments.
After about three minutes she started to move, opening her beak more, vomiting a clear liquid into my hands. I took her outside ... by which time she sat up, clenching her little legs tightly around my finger. She seemed suddenly alert, as though hearing other birds calling her. (In the above shot, notice the little drop of clear vomit under her beak near the throat).
She gets up close to her captor from the safety of my hands.
Within minutes she was getting stronger and would not let go of my fingers. It is an amazing sensation ... as though a half dead creature is absorbing the surge of energy from living hands to bring itself back to life. Akin to pumping air into a deflated tyre.
The captor loses interest and turns away, realising that the prey is no longer easy.
Within about five - ten minutes of lying in my hands looking half dead, she had regained enough of herself to fly away. That's one of the greatest feelings in the world - not only for the bird, but for me. Each time I've held an injured or stunned bird in my hands, I've felt a huge surge of happiness in the moment when it suddenly flies off from me and disappears over the trees.

I couldn't help but clap when this little one flew off this morning.

Later, as I stood under a huge samaan tree drinking a coconut on my way to a meeting, as my head tilted back to swallow the water, my eyes fell on a commotion high up in the tree. It was a lively gathering of small birds - they seemed to be bananaquits - playing and frolicking with each other among the branches.


Lynn Cohen said...

Oh shame on Jasper for being so normal for a cat! Henry V makes me so mad sometimes with his doing his normal cat thing.
This is a sweet, sweet story however, and I am so glad you were able to rescue this little bird.
I just know how relieved you felt when it was able to finally fly away. I wonder if he was up in the tree being greeted by his family and friends and telling them of his great adventure and how the nice woman saved his life? Maybe!

Elspeth said...

I thought Henry V would approve of this post.

meadysmusings said...

I generally dont like cats or snakes for similar behaviour like this and other things...but i do realise they have right to be on earth as much as me etc but I prefer them in their space and I in harm done. I dont even like to look at cats and their behaviour although I like to watch tigers would would eat me if they could obviously but they look at little less squirmish to me cause they are so much bigger...something about their size perhaps makes me feel more like its a dog perhaps...although they are cleary just big cats. Dogs eat birds sometimes but they are just so less vicious in their behaviour...perhaps i just make exceptions with tigers as I was born in the chinese yr of the tiger...dunno...

Frances-Anne said...

O wow thanks for this...