Monday, 17 August 2009

Bird rescue

I heard a distress call of this immature female Black-rumped Flameback. It was there in a flash to see that it was under attack by an Indian Jungle Crow (Large-billed Crow if you do not like this name). The crow was trying to carry it away. But with my sudden appearance at the scene and screaming, it had to abandon its plans. The crow dropped its would-be-prey on the lawn and I was able to collect it. In breeding times, crows do opportunistically take larger prey to meet increasing need of protein the hungry young require. This immature woodpecker almost became an avian prey for it. Its parent birds were calling frantically trying to provide close air support during the commotion.

After rescuing it, I let it calm down a bit before realising it - when the threat level came down from red to sort of bluish.

Black-rumped Flameback - immature female

In return to my favour, I got it to pose for a couple of record shots. When I took these pics, it was quite excited as you can see from its wide open beak and raised crest feathers. It was quite okay after a while.

As some the regular readers of this blog may know, the Black-rumped Flameback is one of the birds in my bathroom birding list.


rainfield61 said...

You have been the superman of this female Black-rumped Flameback.

Tabib said...

Very fast 911 response! ;-)
Beautiful bird.

Christopher said...

Wow - what an amazing opportunity to see this beautiful bird up-close. Glad it had a happy ending! (From this woodpecker-lover's point of view at least!)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Nice rescue work!

Is it still under your care? This is a 'kerala' right?

Gallicissa said...

Hi Rainfield,
Indeed I was. And I think she appreciated it.

Hi Tabib,
It was too hard to ignore her painful calls.

Hi Christopher,
This was the first time I handled this species. I would normally not intervene on natural 'predator & prey business'. In fact I would stand their in bystander apathy. However, on this occasion my insticts got me to intervene. When I think about it now these are the 'valid' considerations that led me.

1. Crows are far too numerous species compared to this Woodpecker species. This is partly owing to us humans leaving it too many things for crows to eat by our activity. Why should I make a Woodpecker family pay the price due to that with their precious young?

2. The woodpeckers have to compete with so many tree-hole nesting species such as Mynas to raise a chick. (As you know, most of these competition do not bother to create their own nest holes like the woodpeckers, but instead use ones created by Woodpeckers).

Trees with exisiting nest-holes are getting rarer these days and we Sri Lankans do not have a habit of putting out nest boxes like you do.

So, woodpeckers are in a more precarious situation than crows when it comes to their survival - mostly due to increased human activity and our greediness.

I appreciate that crows too have have their share of problems of raising a chick with brood-parasitic Asian Koels keeping them ever nervous - but zat is a crow problem.

3. Okay, how could I ignore a call of a girl in distress when she was calling right outside my window?

p.s. My sincere apologies if I'd hurt the feelings of crow-lovers.

Hi K,
Thanks! It was released after a while when the threat level came down. Yes, that sinhala name is correct.

Beej said...

Amila, 'bystander apathy' is a very evocative phrase and I am glad you overcame it. I am partial to woodpeckers, and their alarming decline with the loss of old-growth forests is reason enough for their protection.

And I am with you in your reasoning that crows, being more numerous by living off human activity and being extremely competitive and hardy, often interfere with the survival of rarer wildlife. I have the same attitude to dogs and cats, too - though, of course, they are unlike crows in that they are domesticated animals.

I don't know if you have seen an early video I had posted on my blog about dogs that attack Sarus Cranes in Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary near Delhi.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Gosh ! Unbelievable ! Its so gorgeous !

What a beautiful bird for one thing...

& I would be terrified to touch such an exotic looking creature... out of fear that it would chew off a chunk of my hand !

Amazing Work !

Texas Travelers said...

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Elisabeth's bright side said...

The little one looks relly frightend and I happy about you rescuing her. Wonder what those birds look like as grown ups?

mboi said...

i remember making a nest box for either the kerala or barbett, can't remember which exactly. but the interesting thing is my grandmother told me not to make a hole on the box for the bird. when you hang up the box, the bird actually spots it and makes a hole if they like it. and that's exactly what it did in just a matter of days.

Pat - Arkansas said...

You did a good thing! Thanks for sharing your story and the photos.

Texas Travelers said...

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Harumi said...

Wow.. so great you arrived right on time to the rescue. The lil birdie was lucky too. And it's a gorgeous one. Its parents must be so relieved now.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Beej,
I am really glad that I overcame that. Thanks for defending me!
I too am partial to Woodpeckers!

Thanks for sharing that very interesting video. Poor Cranes! And those dogs! It looks a fabulous wilderness area.

I came across this endemic Yellow-striped Chevrotain already half-eaten by stay dogs at Sinharaja. It was a terrible sight!

Thanks! I am experienced in handling wild birds – something we do in bird-ringing. And it didn’t peck at my hand and make gaping holes in it!

Hi Troy,
Thanks for your comments. Congrats on your wonderful new blog!

I like its name, 'ICU Nature' – very appropriate for a high-octane nature blog!

Great to hear that I got your ID challenge correct! Wow!

Hi Elisebeth,
It would look like this with beak appearing blacker and the ‘salt & pepper’ sections of the head standing out. In proportions, this immature almost matches the adult.

Hi mboi,
I have not tried any nest boxes yet – but I am determined to try one or two in my garden. Thanks for sharing that interesting piece of information!

Hi Pat,
Thank you very much. I am happy to hear from you that I did the right thing!

Hi Harumi,
Yes, my quick action prevented an avian carnage. I bet it will not forget that incident for the rest of its life.

S.C.E. said...

My bathroom doesn't have any windows alas..........

I did see an unidentified Hummingbird when i was taking a cr*p in the Amazon one time though.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Amilia: What a neat capture and you were johnny on the spot.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Stu,
I have two windows in mine and a door - if I really need more air!
And I can use it as a hide too!

Hehe...hummer sounds exciting!

Hi Tom,
It was lovely to have given it a second life.

oldcrow61 said...

Wonderful to hear that you saved the bird. Once again lovely pictures.

Ayie said...

A fast rescuer and nice bird who ave out such thankful gesture!

Sunita said...

Some gals have all the luck! She was lucky you were around to do your knight-in-shining-armour bit. Crows can be really nasty birds and the Jungle Crow is more of a 'goonda' than even the House Crow can be.

Gallicissa said...

Hi OC,
Thanks! I am glad you too approve the bird rescue.

Hi Ayie,,
I saw a similar individual later on in my yard.

Hi Sunita,
That's right!
I think its heavier beak must give it as added advantage in taking such big prey opportunistically.

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