Our next door neighbours are top people. They have 12 rescue dogs at home. They try to rehouse them but if they can’t then they keep them. The minimum they have had in the last 3 years or so is probably 7. But 12 is the current number. The dogs bark a lot and sometimes drive us mad but usually it is in short bursts. Frankly we are happy to put up with this rather than see the dogs put down.
Two days ago D was out but sent me a text saying it seemed 2 baby bulbuls had fallen out of the nest in his mango tree. One had fallen on his side. It was small, weak and had died almost immediately. The second bird, let’s call him Benjamin, was somewhere on our side. Could I have a look?
Of course I went straight out. I donned a rather swish pair of rubber gloves, the sort the doctor puts on to check your prostate. Ladies, be grateful. Be very grateful. There is a real risk of H5N1 bird ‘flu virus in HK. Although much is made of wild birds dying and being possible vectors the evidence is almost non-existent. The likely source is domestic poultry kept in overcrowded and/or unhygienic conditions. The other reason for wearing the gloves was so as not to get the smell of humans (I think I just about qualify) on the bird if the parents were going to try and feed it.
Now Benjamin was cowering behind the flowerpots in the corner. I could tell straight away he was a feisty little B. He gripped me tight and then suddenly wriggled and flapped and was away, dragging himself across the lawn. I moved him slightly closer to the cover of the wall but visible enough so the parent birds could see him easily. And there we left him. I tried to find him some juicy caterpillars but failed. Shortly afterwards he was under a bush and this was presumably his survival instincts kicking in.
The next day I searched the garden. No sign of Benjy. We feared the worst.
This morning as soon as I stumbled downstairs the maid called “Sir Andrew, the bird is back!” And so it was. The little tinker was half way up the stem of our Firecracker vine. Benjy was clearly made of strong stuff. I suspected from his encounter with me that he was not far from fledging and his parents evidently felt they could save him. I set up my SX50 HS on a tripod and decided not to go out into the garden so as not to disturb the feeding regime. So these few images are through double glazing over a considerable distance. In summary, they are awful. They do prove however that sometimes there can be a happy ending. The usual advice if you see a baby bird fallen out of a nest is to leave it alone. And this was the right course here as the parents were smart enough to get the bird under cover and carry on feeding it without my help. The gloves served their purpose, I hope.
Benjamin Bulbul – the star of the show.