Saturday, March 19, 2016

The day i found an abandoned or escapee bird (Green Cheeked Conure)

I was walking in my neighbourhood today when i spotted a beautiful exotic bird on the ground (my initially impression was i thought it was some sort of Budgie. It was alive but was very weak and did not fly away although i approached it cautiously. The bird was either sick or in shock or worst, both. Nearby was a plastic corner with peanuts on the ground leading me to jump the gun to think that it was an abandoned bird. With further hindsight, another possibility was another person found it and brought water and nuts (unfortunately this nuts were not for bird consumption but look more for human consumption ones). Whatever the case was, it  was very obvious the owner was not present and the bird is in danger (to shock and exposure or the possibility of been killed by domesticated pets in the neighbourhood).

After waiting for 20 minutes i decided to take action, by first calling the Animals Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) Wildlife Crime / Rescue Hotline -9783 7782 . It's hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ! I called but initially couldn't get through but was very impressed that they called me back within minutes.

Reading advice online on first aid for birds gave me some ideas of do's and don't of dealing with birds in distressed and this was reaffirmed by the calm voice of the ACRES Volunteer i spoke too.
Handling the bird with your bare hand is usually a no no and since the ACRES folks have only 1 van and are handling a number of cases, they were unable to get to me immediately. The next course of action was to find a box to at least place the bird in. I found a clean one luckily at the block opposite this (in the green recyclable bin) and carefully approach the bird to get it to go into the box. After 2 tries, i manage to get the bird to go into the box without manhandling it.

With the container of water in the box and closing the lid of the box, (of course after creating the necessary air ventilation holes) i left the bird alone after i brought it back home. I checked on the bird every hour to see if ok, and has the hours passed, it seem to be much better. Finally 3 hours (exactly on their estimate time they said they will get to me) i got a call from ACRES to say they were here. A quick check by them told me the bird was ok. I am a bit sad to see it go, but i am sure ACRES are better equipped and have more knowledge to handle it.

A birder like me prefer to "capture" them with my binoculars and camera rather than keep one in a cage, no matter what urge i had to "adopt" this beautiful creature, it is better in my opinion not too and leave it in the hands of people more skilled and responsible. I am not making any statements on caged bird ownership (to each their own i suppose), but personally, i rather admire birds in the wild than keep one caged. As the bird i found is an exotic non-local, they can never be released to the wild in Singapore even if it regains it health.

Parting note

In the safe and capable hands of ACRES, i see hope that at least the bird will find a home maybe at the Jurong Bird Park or adopted by people who are skilled enough to care for it and shower the necessary attention. While writing my thoughts on my blog, i researched further and found that this bird is likely to be a Green Cheeked Conure (sometimes called the Green Cheeked Parakeet), an exotic bird originating from South America.

Thank you to the volunteers from ACRES, who seem to work tirelessly round the clock to safe animals in danger. If you are touched by the efforts, you can donate to their cause.

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