Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Mini Mynah

It flew a curving line up into the clear cold sky.   Without a backward glance.   As free as the bird it is - gone, gone, GONE!   So much for all my nurturing over the previous months.

Earlier in the year my daughter had come running down from the hayshed calling out that there were some baby birds lying injured on the ground.   Ever a sucker for animals in distress I went to investigate.   Three wee blind, featherless chicks of indeterminate breed.   One was dead, one had a twisted leg and the other had crawled several metres out by the driveway.   Back to the house they came and were put into a small box lined with soft cloth and hay.

 Looking at their beaks I realised they were probably meat eaters so mashed up some cat meat with gravy and starting feeding them every half hour.   At night they were put in the hot water cupboard.   In the morning the chirping began as soon as they saw light.   This went on for just over a week before the weaker one with the bad leg died - fortunately perhaps as I didn't think I could mend it.   But as for the other - it thrived.   A tiny bit of Farex was added to its diet then crushed cat biscuits softened with water.   It thrived.   The eyes opened, down appeared on its little body and it would nestle quietly in my hand while feeding.   It thrived.   Feeding times became more spaced out and a bigger box was needed to allow it more room for its gangling legs.   By now it was obvious it was a mynah.

Time passed, the bird grew and real feathers started to appear.   Now it wanted to flap them so it was moved to a large bird cage during the day.   This was put in a spare bedroom so that it could experiment with its wings outside the cage.   As it became more mobile a couple of branches were put in the cage to encourage it to perch.   It began to perch on my hand, then my shoulder and with the full development of its wing and tail feathers it would flutter short distances around the room.The cage was moved back to the garage and came the day that it jumped out and flapped its way clumsily to one of the rafters.   This became a daily exercise for it.   It also delighted in splashing around in a sink of shallow water.

Finally it was time to let my fully feathered friend discover the great outdoors.   By now it would keep flying back to me so I was confident this would continue outside.   Maybe it could help me in the garden by cleaning up all those lovely bugs.   Taking a big breath and with bird on my shoulder I opened the side door to the garage.   A rush of air as it took off and within seconds it had disappeared from sight!   For two days the little bird was nowhere to be seen or heard and I just hoped it had not met with some horrible fate in the form of a hawk, wild cat or even the magpies which frequent the garden.  Then one morning I saw a Mynah fly into a tree up behind our house.   I called it and although it did not respond nor did it fly away.   The next morning the same thing happened but this time I whistled and the bird came down to a tree near me.  

With a bit more cajoling in the form of whistles and talking quietly it eventually alighted on my shoulder.   No mistake.   This was my bird!   Since then, the Mynah has made its home in the garage which it can fly into or out of as it likes.   Although it can fend for itself there is a small dish in the garage which has a daily piece of dog roll meat, some fish-flavoured chook pellets and cat biscuits softened with a bit of water - just as a top up.   Known as Dickeybird or The Vandal, depending on what it is doing the Mynah's curious nature is evident in the way it likes to "get involved" with whatever we are doing.   Nuts and screws get picked up and dropped further away in the workshop, pieces of paper are snatched off a bench and anything hanging loose is fair game.   Visitors are warned that they may find a small passenger suddenly perched on their shoulder or head.  

The bird also likes exploring the various vehicles on the farm..........

and trying to come into the house.

We find ourselves going through a range of emotions with this small addition to the "family" from entertainment to frustration depending on its antics.   Would I do it again - raise an orphan?   Of course.

As they say - a bird in/on/near the hand is worth two/three/or more in the bush.

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