Playtime at the staircase

In the four days where my focus was on Birdy, I hadn’t realised that the kittens have grown quite a bit!!

Today, it’s playtime on the staircase for the Greystoke Gang!

Big Brother Smurfy is always with them, ensuring they are all safe.


Minnie is also keeping an eye, but at a more relaxed distance.

In the past few days, I did hear loud noises now and then. It was the Greystoke Gang bringing down certain articles of furniture like the wooden vase, etc.

Well, boys will be boys!!

Once, the wooden vase fell, and all four were quickly huddled up under the sofa, as in “Oh oh….are we going to be in trouble?”.  But thankfully, no one was injured.

 

Birdy enjoys sunbathing!

Here’s a video Reymont sent this morning – he says Birdy loves sunbathing!

Be well and happy, Birdy!!

Birdy in her new home!

We reached the meeting place in KL at about 3pm, and Reymont arrived moments later.

The transfer from our carrier into Reymont’s bird cage was done in the car as Reymont wants to be completely careful. I did the transfer and told Birdy she will be going to her new home.

Reymont mentioned that when he played the video I sent this morning in his house, his bird mimicked Birdy’s cry.

Reymont sent these photos!

Reymont put Birdy’s cage next to his bird’s and they looked at each other! They will be friends. Hopefully Birdy can learn “how to be a bird” from his new friend.

Reymont will train Birdy to eat from a feeder (that’s the correct one for her size now). He also fed Birdy upon reaching home and said Birdy ate “a lot”! That’s good to hear. Eating a lot is always good.

Reymont will also buy worms and train Birdy to eat them tomorrow. Hmm…the worm part isn’t exactly something I think I can do….!

Birdy is in good hands, I know.

Thank you very much, Reymont and Joey, for taking good care of Birdy.

Have a great life and learn new things, Birdy!

This is the video I took his morning when Birdy perched on my arm and sang….

Birdy’s lunch

I fed Birdy a small lunch before the car trip.

You’re going to your new home soon, Birdy. You’ll have bird-friends there and be well taken care of by Uncle Reymont and Aunty Joey. They will teach you to fly too.

All set for our car trip.

I know this is the best thing to do for Birdy.

Birdy (Day 4)

After breakfast today, we tried to give Birdy flying lessons in the bedroom, but the room wasn’t big enough as she kept banging onto the wall. Or she would just fly a short distance.

 

It’s either a very short distance like this, but she bangs on the wall, so that’s not an option.

Instinctively, she wants to perch vertically and peck on…anything. So I decided to let her out in the garden.

It appears that she is communicating with her parents.

You can hear her chittering here too.

I finally just let her perch on the branches and peck on them. I read that woodpeckers suck the sap from tree branches that they peck on.

I consulted Joey on what I should do for Birdy as this is my first time nursing a baby bird. Joey says normally the mother would have to teach the babies how to look for food. Of course I know that Birdy is better off with her parents as birds are creatures of Nature and they should live as naturally as possible. So I contemplated putting her back into her nest, which we figured is one of those holes in the tree trunk in the neighbour’s house. I contacted the neighbour and he was totally agreeable to let us try to put Birdy back, provided we have a ladder that it tall enough and we would have to do it in his garden.

However, I did not see any birds peeking out of the hole anymore today even though I was watching it for more than an hour. There were birds flying above, but I did not see any bird going back into the hole nor any baby bird peeking out anymore. I worry that maybe the nest has already been abandoned today. Maybe all the other babies have flown off?

That’s the trouble when you don’t know enough about birds. You just don’t know what to do.

I contemplated sending Birdy to the Bird Park. Maybe they would have experts there. So I called, but the Bird Park says they don’t take in outside birds and that I should call Wildlife instead. I called the hotline but they would also just release.

By then, Reymont called and I asked for advice. Reymont said that if throughout the last 2 days we had put Birdy in the garden but the parents did not fly down to feed her, it means the mother has rejected her already. This is their natural instinct, which I understand. So, putting her back into the nest is no longer an option. There is the danger that the mother might not feed her or even peck her to death. Yikes! Also, the nest looks abandoned today.

So, no, not an option to put her back into the nest. That is out.

Reymont says Birdy has to learn to fly and it would be best to do it in the hall where she can practise air-standing and landing. A place with lots of furniture would be good, like in the living room. But that’s out of the question as the cats are all over. Our “flying lessons” in the bedroom has not been successful either.

Finally, Reymont said he wouldn’t mind taking Birdy over. He has another small bird, and he could put Birdy near this bird and Birdy could learn from his bird. Whatever it is, Reymont has decades of experience looking after birds and he has all the knowledge and equipment for it. He even has a heater to keep them warm.

Reymont could teach Birdy how to fly and then decide whether to bring Birdy back here or release her to a safe place. I know Reymont has Birdy’s best interests at heart.

So, Reymont will foster Birdy. We will send Birdy to him later today.

So, I guess it’s “Bye Bye Birdy” soon. I will feed Birdy one more round before the car ride.

Birds are creatures of Nature and not domesticated pets like cats and dogs. I don’t want to do more harm by “looking after” Birdy as a pet until she looses all her natural instincts. Sure, I can feed her every 3 hours, but she would loose her ability to look for food on her own. I also do not have sufficient knowledge or experience to care for her in her best interests.

So, I feel this is a much better option, for Birdy. She will be with Reymont and Joey, both with decades of bird-caring experience and they are both very kind and caring people.

 

Birdy’s flying lessons (Day 3 evening)

Birdy is wrapped in tissue paper before each feeding session so that they sweat of my palm will not make her wet. The tissues have to be changed or added on because she flicks off access food. It’s not easy to get the amount “exactly right”. So, it’s good that Birdy shakes off whatever that’s access in each lump of food that I syringe into her mouth.

After each meal, she goes back into her tissue box, after it’s been cleaned and lined with fresh tissues. There’s always faeces on the tissues before each feed.

I decided to let Birdy have some flying lessons in the safety of our bedroom after her meal.

As you can see from this video, she would take off from this tray, flly low-leve and end up banging against the wall. It happened a few times, so I stopped letting her take off.

She perched onto this gadget and started pecking at the metal. I stopped her, of course.

After the next meal, we tried the flying lessons again.

The same thing happened again. She would either bang into the wall or the cabinet doors and end up on the floor, but thankfully, she was not injured.

So I changed the position of the take-off.

She wouldn’t take off from my hand.

I placed her on her tray thinking she likes to take off from it, and stood at the door, giving her more distance to fly, but she didn’t want to take off.

I figured maybe she might try it in the garden. So off we went to the garden.

Nope, not interested in taking off at all.

How about getting some hopping exercise then?

Birdy hopped off the tray and ended up…

…perching low on a branch and pecking at it!

She just loves to peck.

After all, she IS a woody-woodpecker!

Today, we had six meals in all, which I think is sufficient. Overfeeding is also not good, so I have learnt to watch her response and “read” when she has had enough.

The happiest is when I get the consistency of the food “just right” and the amount right, and the “hit the target”, ie. syringe the right amount into her mouth where she swallows all without shaking any off.

It works like this: First, I mix the pounded pellets (already in powder) with hot water, then wait for it to soften, then I put it into the syringe, but while feeding (because it takes time), the contents inside the syringe starts to dry up, so I have be very observant of the consistency. Once it is not wet enough, I need to start all over again. So I will put Birdy back into the carrier, while I restart the whole process by syringing out the remnants, adding hot water and repeating the process. That is why it still takes about 15-20 minutes for each session. With each lump being syringed in, I have to watch and ensure Birdy has swallowed before putting in the next lump. And towards the end, once Birdy starts spitting out the food, that’s my cue that she has had enough, and we have to stop. But if she finishes all the food and she still wants more, I make a new batch.

 

Birdy was attacked but is fine now (Day 3 noon)

We heard a sudden loud noise.

One of the cats (could be Minnie or Smurfy) went up and brought Birdy’s whole carrier tumbling down onto the floor (luckily it wasn’t very high). The carrier door fell off and Birdy’s tissue box also fell out.

Luckily, it was upside down, so Birdy was still inside.

By the time we rushed out, Birdy (or rather, her upside-down tissue box with her inside) was surrounded by four cats, namely, Minnie, Smurfy, Ginger and Tabs (she was there to help).

I quickly scooped up Birdy. Her heart was pounding.

Calmed her by holding her in my two palms and soon, she was okay.

Phew….

If the tissue box had not fallen upside-down, I shudder to think what could have happened.

We got out another carrier with a better secured door, cleaned it thoroughly, dried it and put Birdy inside.

It’s best to take Birdy upstairs to our room, for better security. After all, the cat is the bird’s natural predator.

So Birdy is now upstairs in our bedroom, with the door closed, in a new carrier.

Maybe later, we will let her out for “flying lessons”, in the safety of the room.

Tabs: I wasn’t there to attack Birdy, I was there to help. It was Minnie, it wasn’t me. 

Ginger: Me too. I was also there to help.

Tabs: I will guard the door and protect Birdy. 

Birdy is a Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Belatuk Belacan Ubun Perang)

According to this: https://singaporebirds.com/species/sunda-pygmy-woodpecker/!

Scientific Name: Yungipicus moluccensis
Malay Name: Belatuk-Belacan Ubun Perang
Chinese Name: 巽他啄木鸟

Range:
Found from the Thai-Malay Peninsula to Borneo, Greater and Lesser Sundas

Taxonomy:
Polytypic. Subspecies are: moluccensisgrandis

Local Subspecies: moluccensis

Size: 12.5-13 cm

Identification: Male has brownish crown and ear-covers, well defined submoustachial stripe, red streak on side of hindcrown, white-barred brownish upperside and dark streaked underparts. Female resembles male but lacks the red streak. Juvenile is duller overall and has less distinct streaks.

Habitat: Parks, gardens, mangroves and coastal areas.

Behaviour/Ecology: Usually found singly or in pairs, unobtrusive and drums softly.

Local Status: Common resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)

Location: Any patch of suitable habitat.

From the description, Birdy is most likely a female too! She doesn’t have the red streak. Or, maybe she’s still an infant.

Anyway, Birdy is a woody-woodpecker!

Birdy communicates with her family (Day 3 morning)

Birdy had breakfast at about 7.30am this morning and then, it was a trip out to the garden again. I decided not to increase the amount of food, but instead, play it by ear to gauge how much Birdy wants to eat.

With the carrier door totally detached, Birdy decided to remain inside but she was fully alert and reacted to all the chirping and chittering going around.

I finally put her tissue box on the ground and waited.

She came out and hopped around.

You can hear the sound of chittering in the videos. Birdy chirps very loudly and was communicating with her parents. The chittering went back and forth too.

She finally perched vertically on the trunk of the papaya tree and started pecking.

After more than an hour, it was time to come back. Birdy did not attempt to fly today; she just hopped around. The chittering sound in this video is her cry and also from the birds flying above (probably her parents).

Back in the carrier, in a new tissue box as she defecates quite often (faeces colour is normal) and the blue box is soiled now. Hygiene is very important so the moment I see any faeces, I clean out all the tissues and replace them with fresh ones.

We might let her out in the room to “train” her to fly later in the afternoon. Will see how it goes.