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End of year catch-up

Nikki Buxton | Dec 19, 2010


My apologies for my absence. Loads of excuses, all of them pathetic.

After much fundraising we began construction of the new aviaries. The rain made the task extremely tiresome, but eventually we were done. Much celebration and leaping about. A few days later we piled into the bush bearing perches and swings, when we noticed to our horror that half of the wire on the large aviary and all of wire on both smaller ones was rusty. We had been sold un-galvanized wire! In desperation, we took advice and scrubbed the wire clean and painted it with copious quantities of Hammerite metal paint (child-safe, rust-resistant, especially for metal toys apparently) Guess what - within a week the rust was back and within a month we could punch a hole in the wire. All of that fundraising and all of those weeks of construction, not to mention the wasted paint... It didn't bear thinking about. So that's where we are at right now: battling with the hardware store over 9 rolls of wire at $320 each, thank you very much, and picking up the pieces - literally.

With huge thanks to the generosity of friends and supporters, we now have enough donations to get wire for the two smaller pre-flights, so I can at least begin using those. He doesn't know it yet, but good old Jerry will be funding the remainder, so by the New Year we should be back where we were 6 months ago, except with useable aviaries.

Because of the setback, I have not been pushing for more yellowheads. We only have 3 right now and I have a horrible feeling they are all girls. One is 'in heat' and enjoys getting rather inappropriate cuddles from humans, the other shows no signs of similar behaviour and totally ignores the randy one so she's either too young or too old to be 'in heat' or he's gay. The third is in a separate cellblock at the moment - she is a total psycho when it comes to humans, so much so we call her Norman. I don't know what the previous owners have done to her, but she flings herself at the wire with murder in her eyes whenever we go close. It takes two people and a lot of ingenuity to clean her cage as there is no way anyone can get in there with her. She's had a series of neighbours, several of them I can say for sure are males – none of them yellowheads - and she seems to have fallen for all of them. I shall be braving the possible loss of several fingers and move her close to the other oratrix this week to see her reaction to them. Wish me luck.

Another setback was the total destruction of my faith in human nature. I can't name names, but someone not awfully far from me who definitely does not practice what he preaches finally made me realise that releasing the birds in this area is not the best option for the birds. It's a crying shame, as monitoring is so much easier with an on-site release, but I have secured a great alternative release site. It's a 350 acre reserve owned by a couple of wildlife photographers. It backs onto a protected area and is surrounded by several other private reserves. They live on-site and are going to set up cameras and do continuous monitoring and hopefully get some fabulous photographs, so it's a great option all round. We plan to release a healthy flock of the red loreds in January.

I have also, at long last, admitted to myself that I need help (please, no comment). Next year I want to recruit another crazy person to join me, particularly one familiar with passerine and raptor care. We are offering virtually no money, no holidays, no days off, a tiny wooden cabin with an outdoor kitchen - have I won anyone over yet?

And finally, in an effort to make BBR self-sustaining, I have taken the lease on a 6-room hotel unit in town, 50% of the proceeds of which will go toward these darned birds that have taken over our lives. So if anyone is ever in Belmopan and needs a room, it's called the Hibiscus Hotel. We should be up and running by mid-January and with any luck I will have mastered Dreamweaver and will have a lovely new website to go with it (yeah, yeah, yeah)

On that hopeful note, I would like to wish all of my friends, supporters, donors and fellow parrot-lovers the very best of Christmases and every good wish for the New Year.