Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Important: How to care for an injured baby bird

Jasper observes Bird

When this little bird came to me a few days ago (and shortly after, died in my hands), I wrote to Detta (Wildlife Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre - WORC) and told her about it. She is currently out of the country and sent a detailed email. I'm sharing it because at some point or another most of us come across baby birds that fall from their nests or are victims of attack. I can tell you from experience, it is very rewarding to nurse an injured animal back to health ... especially a bird, to see it fly off.

From Detta's email:
When you find a baby bird ( any bird) pick it up gently but securely and examine it for any wounds, broken legs, etc. Gently turning it over in the palm of your hand so that the chest is facing you (you can keep your hand in such a position that the bird is still vertical) ease out each wing at right angles to the body, checking the bones of the wing. They are in the same arrangement as your arm. From the inside view any breaks or punctures are easily visible.

In this case there may not have been anything you could have done . The pussy eyes may suggest an infection or pox contracted from pigeons. This would also have caused the swollen nares.

The pigeon pox is a virus and highly contagious to doves and certain other native birds. This is the reason I don't take in pigeons unless they have a pigeon club band. I have another resource person who handles them.

You could give simple triage easily. Keep some supplies in the house: peroxide, Q-Tips, cotton wool, iodine and children's Painol. Mix a small quantity of Peroxide and h2o (half &half) and using Q-tips or cotton wool, completely clean the wound and the surrounding area. Because birds don't have a liquid lymphatic system, and creams make a mess of feathers, I use powdered antibiotics. A good standard is Beneocin. It's a broad spectrum and well tolerated. If you know your doctor well enough and he trusts you, you could ask for a prescription, explaining why you want it.

Pain management is an often talked about problem, I have found the simplest thing is Painol, but if you can get ARNICA in a tablet or powder it would be better as it is homeopathic. Either get it down the birds throat or mix with a little water and give it with a dropper from the side of the beak, a drop at a time.

Just a cautionary note: When putting liquid down a bird's throat make sure you avoid the glottis. This is the opening on the back of the birds tongue. It is the airway to its lungs.
Also remember that these are very small organisms and don't have much body mass. Use only very small quantities of the drug.

Lastly, keep it warm and secure. I have a cheap heating electric pad which I place under the cage at night. You could keep the bird in a box in a quiet and warm place in the house.

Finally: my valued resource person is quite close to you, Dr.Gabriel Brown. He is the avian specialist at the vet school, and you will find him in the small building on the south perimeter road as you pass the new Oncology unit, and the incinerator of the vet school. There is parking off the road but you have to walk round the corner to the glass door. Alternately you could drive around to the Small Animal Clinic, drive past it into the bovine area and the little building is facing you.
In this case it would have been useful to have taken the little body up to him for a necropsy. This way you would get some information back on what happened to it. It also provides the students with useful experience.

I have a small styrene container in which I transport little bodies. The protocol they prefer is to have the animal/bird placed in a clean zip-lock bag as soon after it expires as possible. This way they can examine the parasites it may carry and then place it in the carrier with a few zip-lock bags of ice. No freezing.

In the case of baby birds or an injury case, it is important to identify the species it order to feed it correctly. On the wrong diet, the bird will not survive.

Richard ffrench's book "the Birds of Trinidad & Tobago" has excellent plates for ID and some information on their habits and food sources. Be cautious when taking information off the net. The same species may occur in the southern USA but have different diets and are adapted to those, whereas, the same species from Venezuela, the Guyanas, and the amazon may have more closely related habits.

Finally, it is extremely important, to consider that you are helping this individual to survive and return to its own environment. Only if the individual is crippled and unable to survive in the wild should it become domesticated (habituated) and then a permit should be sought from the FORESTRY DIVISION, or it could be turned over to an established Rehabilitation Centre, for use.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A space for healing

Some days ago I went to take location photographs of a friend/fellow yogini's rereat house up in Maracas (about ten minutes drive or less from the bay). She had asked me to create a simple flier for her to advertise the rustic healing space - for conscious retreats and workshops.

When I got home, instead of creating a flier, I decided to put together a simple blog for her, with images and brief descriptive captions.

With blog, as opposed to flier, she can:
(i) have more images and wording included
(ii) attach the link as an email signature and have it spread virally via fwds, etc.
(iii) easily send the link to people wherever they are in the world
(iv) be found in Google searches by people she would not have been able to reach otherwise.
(v) include the blog link (for more info/images) on a simple flier if she decides to do one

You can visit the blog here and find out more about Ananda Mahi. You may be interested.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Out of the Box (the online launch)

First there was Invisible: Children Living with HIV/AIDS - an awareness-raising mini documentary created for TTCRC (Trinidad and Tobago Coalition for the Convention on the Rights of the Child).Now there is "Out of the Box".

Five secondary school students meet an openly HIV positive woman (Lorna Henry) and discover that the face of HIV doesn't always hide and doesn't always fit the stereotype. Under the guidance of multimedia artist Elspeth Duncan, the girls created this mini film during their experience.

Out of the Box (2009), created for TTCRC (Trinidad and Tobago Coalition for the Convention on the Rights of the Child)
, was funded by UNAIDS and UNDP.

The TTCRC is an umbrella organisation comprised of individuals and groups who are interested in realizing the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in T&T through advocacy, education and collaboration at all levels, with the aim of developing each child's fullest potential and keeping at the fore all things that are in the child's best interest.

For more information and to get involved: ttcrc1999 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Are you out of the box? Stay tuned for video launch

In Dec 2008 - Jan/Feb 2009 I worked with five secondary school students on a mini documentary for TTCRC (Trinidad and Tobago Coalition for the Convention on the Rights of the Child). This mini doc was entitled: "Out of the Box".
The girls had never (knowingly) met an HIV positive person before. In their experience of filming "Out of the Box", they met and worked with Lorna Henry, a woman/wife/ mother living with HIV. Through her, the girls came to realise that the face of HIV does not always hide and does not always fit the stereotype.

Tune in later today on this blog for the online launch of "Out of the Box". As with this (offline) screening last year, discussion is encouraged. We look forward to your comments.
The girls and Lorna.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It died in my hands

This little fledgling (dove) flew into my window this morning. I found it looked sickly: swollen beak (where beak meets face) and runny eyes.
Held it to keep it warm and comfort it from the shock.
It kept fairly still.
Eventually started to sit up. Its parents were flying back and forth over us.
After a short while of holding it, it started to struggle and heave and (from experience of having birds die in my hands), I knew it was on its last. Said a prayer and chanted mantras for a peaceful transition.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What do you do?

Heart leaf found while walking on burnt hill next to house

I help spiritually conscious people who believe that Love is everywhere to raise awareness.

This was my result after doing the exercise in this free downloadable workbook. The workbook is from a site I came across the other day (via a link on this blog) called Heart of Business. I like the site because it's easy to understand and makes "business" seem warm, approachable and pleasurable.

What Mark at Heart of Business makes clear is that what you "do" is not just about the label (e.g. artist, chiropractor, gardener, etc). That is of no real benefit to people. The little exercise in the workbook helps you reach a starting point from which you can explore the idea of what you give to people as a result of being a _______ (whatever your career label is).

It makes sense. At the end of the day, if I just say "I'm a multimedia artist", what does that do for anyone?

He says at the end of the exercise to test it out on friends and associates, which I did (without realising I was doing it). While dropping a friend to the electrician yesterday, I started telling her about the exercise and what my resulting phrase was: "I help spiritually conscious people who believe that Love is everywhere to raise awareness." Her immediate reaction was "Oh wow! How beautiful!" I saw her interest in her body language too, as she immediately shifted her seat belt to turn and face me directly, waiting to hear more.

I realised her reaction was exactly the kind Mark from Heart of Business said you get when you shift the "what do I do" to more of a "what do I do for you?"

No one has ever exclaimed with such enthusiasm: "Oh wow! How beautiful!" when I've said "I'm a multimedia artist."

I said to my friend: "But will people take that seroiusly?"

She replied: "It will make them stop and think ... and they will want to know more."

Definitely something to work with. I will refine the phrase in days/weeks to come.

I am a Fire Horse too

Just came across this movie trailer for "Eve and the Fire Horse" and it looks fantastic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good news is green

(l. to r.) Elspeth Duncan, President of Greenlight Network; Akilah Jaramogie, managing director, Fondes Amandes Community Reafforestation Project; Senator the Honourable Dr. Emily Dick-Forde, Minister of Planning Housing and the Environment

Congratulations to all members of the Greenlight Network who, in spite of challenges, remained committed, worked hard and today, can say that our efforts have paid off.

Click here to read the good news.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

My 2nd Healing Session with Medicinesongwoman

Order and listen to more of Brenda's music here
Last summer when I was in Toronto, I met Medicinesong Woman, Brenda MacIntyre, in person for the first time. As we chatted over cups of tea in Ellington's Bar & Cafe, she spoke about wanting to have a listening party for her new CD (see above image). I felt strongly moved to help her promote it and offered to do some graphic art and a short video as extra advertising. She accepted and, as a return gift, gave me a free long distance energy healing and channeling session.

Brenda and I have maintained our connection and kept in touch since my return to TT. I admire her healing approach to life and the uplifting messages she spreads to her audiences through her work.

A few weeks ago she sent a questionnaire to clients who have experienced her distance healing sessions. I didn't know there was going to be a prize for one of the randomly-chosen questionnaire recipients. So I was surprised to come home about two weeks ago and find an email stating that the winner of the free long distance energy healing and channeling session (randomly selected by her daughter) was "E. Duncan."

We did the session today at midday (TT time) and 11 a.m. (TO time). Just like the last time, it was fantastic. I e-mailed Brenda directly after to tell her what I had experienced. She responded with the acknowledgment that she had also experienced aspects similar to what I had described.

Later I will receive the recordings with her channeled message and channeled song from this afternoon's session. Last time the recordings were very interesting and resonant with my life. I'm sure this time they will be just as (if not more) enlightening.

(From her site)
Medicine Song Woman Brenda MacIntyre is a Juno Award-winning Native Canadian World Music Singer, Healer, Artist & Speaker. Through her work, Brenda assists individuals and audiences in increasing their joy, vitality and well-being.

Brenda MacIntyre brings multiple offerings, with various empowerment workshops and drumming/healing circles as well as performances (a cappella and with a band), healing sessions and talks.

Brenda uses a unique healing system in which she channels healing songs, clears and re-aligns energy, and receives visions and intuitive energy readings for individuals.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Testimonial from Paula Obe

Alternative imaging for DJs and Artistes - by Elspeth Duncan
Paula Obe, song poet
Photography: Elspeth Duncan
Elspeth Duncan's lens captures the very essence of a person. Her creativity and passion for what she does instantly puts you at ease, so you slide into yourself and comfort zone. The results are brilliant. I received a lot of positive feedback from the photos she took of me. Paula Obe, song poet

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

After the fire

Over the weekend there was a huge bush fire on the hill next to the house. The hill is bare land (bush, grass and some trees) and, being dry season, everything was brown and incendiary. Suspicion is that some people living on the fringe were burning a fire in their garden (not wise during dry season) and a spark from their fire set off the blaze. There was a lot of wind that day and the tall flames were advancing quickly toward the house. Luckily there was water in the taps and, with three hoses, we managed to keep the flames at bay. It was my first and hopefully last experience of "fighting fire". Scary at first, but (once we had it under control) exciting and even beautiful to watch and listen to the flames.

By the time the fire engine arrived about an hour later, most of the fire was out.

When it was all over and I was going to turn off the hose, I looked down at my feet and saw the heart-shaped stone in the above image. For a long while after, even when I took it back inside with me, it was still hot. It has been sitting with me ever since - and every time I hold it, it feels like it's more than just "a rock" ... or, more precisely, more than just a piece of concrete with small stones embedded in it.

What powers do you possess, Fire Heart?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's see what happens

The only time I've ever used the classified ads in the newspapers is whenever I was looking for apartments - either for myself and/or someone else. But recently, while flipping through the papers, I stopped on the classified ads page and started reading them, to see what was there. As I read the Business Services in particular, it struck me ... how come I have never put an ad in the classifieds ... and what would happen if I did? Might as well. Nothing to lose ... only to gain (new clients, extra money).

I checked out the prices and it's really affordable to place classads.

I called and booked two ads to run for a month. The process is simple. You write your words, you email them to Classads and then they call and tell you the price and you pay it. Your ads appear the next day in the papers and also on the internet for free.

As with most of the other classads, mine say the bare minimum necessary. The more you say, the more you pay.

I also remembered that years ago an organisation had hired me to do proofreading of some of their documents. I got paid quite a bit per page and, as I'm good at spotting errors and making corrections to written English, it was quite a good way of making extra money. So I put an ad for that too.

Let's see what happens.

Now noticing the nature of the business below my proofreading ad

Thursday, March 4, 2010

T&Telephone etiquette and lack thereof

One word of graffiti on exterior of an old house a friend lives in
In Trinidad, whenever I'm leaving my name with someone over the phone, they tend to say something like "Eh?" or "Wazz dat?" or "Spell it?" I then have to pronounce and spell it a few times before they get it.

So whenever I say: "I'd like to leave a message for so-and-so. Please tell him/her that Elspeth called" ... and the person just says "Okay", I'm pretty sure they are not going to deliver any message because they didn't get the name.

Recently this happened. I left my name for someone to call me back and the man on the other end said without hesitation: "Yeah. Ah go tell him."

Me (knowing he didn't get the name): Did you get my name?

Him: Eh heh, Yuh ent jes tell me it?

Long story short, he didn't get my name, and even though he had been saying "eh heh" when I was calling out my numbers, he wasn't writing them down because he didn't have a pen. He eventually went and got one, but the person still never got the message (which I found out when I called back later).

Today, similarly, I called to get information from a particular organisation. Again, after saying "Please tell xxxx to call Elspeth Duncan", I was met with a dry "Yeah". There was no "what was that?" and not even a pause to indicate that he was scribbling the name onto a piece of paper. There was only silence. When I said "Hello?" thinking the call had dropped, the response was a dry "Yeah". Anything I said to this person was met with a dry "Yeah".

A short while after, I called another organisation in search of the information. The female operator was very pleasant. I had cause to call back when a transfer from the office she sent my call to dropped. Again, she was very pleasant and helpful. Before hanging up, I told her that I think she's very pleasant and helpful and that it was refreshing dealing with her, especially after having encountered such poor telephone etiquette as of late.

She laughed and said "Thank you, lovey!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Testimonial from Patti-Anne Ali

Patti-Anne Ali
Photography: Elspeth Duncan
In 2004, the Sugar House Drama Company staged its tenth anniversary production - "Single - An Act of Love". This original one act play was nominated the following year 2005 for Caciques in two categories; Best Original Play and Most Outstanding Dramatic Production. "Single" was an unprecedented artistic success and this was in no small part due to the talent and professionalism of Elspeth Duncan. Elspeth not only scored the original music and shot the film sequences for the piece, she also did the photography. Consequently, the look and feel of the production took on a distinctive, unforgettable and evocative personna. I deeply appreciated her willingness to understand the heart of the piece and to contribute her own perspective to bringing the work to life. Her work enriched mine.

On my return from acting and directing in New York, I looked forward to working with Elspeth again. Recently we did a photo shoot at Mount St.Benedict. Again, her approach was organic yet controlled, moments of pure genius. I love the results of the shoot and plan on using these pictures for headshots and PR. As a Director and an Actress with an international repertoire of work, I choose to work with people who inspire me, with their own talent and professionalism. I choose to work with Elspeth.

Patti-Anne Ali, Director/Actress, founder of
Sugar House Creative (formerly known as Sugar House Drama Company)