Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A life saving bird survey

Today was a base day in Mkwiro for those on Marine. And like any other fun-filled Friday we went on a bird survey to gather data on those bird species that can be found on the island. After splitting into groups, Annie and I headed into the bush... (behind the house!). Almost immediately we noticed two small birds in the trees above us. Even before we had time to identify them, I noticed a small movement in the grass by our feet which turned out to be... a baby bird. A purple banded sunbird!

"Hello, what are you doing down there?" I said. With some quick detective work we discovered the bird had fallen from a nest above. Too young to fly, he struggled on the ground with ants already starting to investigate the new arrival while concerned parents flew frantically overhead, unable to help, . With one look, we knew it was up to us to try to save this poor infant. He seemed healthy and alert, so we popped him back into his nest. The two parent purple banded sunbirds came to check in on him and all was right with the world.

An adult male sunbird, and concerned father of our chick

Purple banded sunbirds are only around 10cm in length, they are black with a green irridescent head and a disntinctive purple band on their chest. It was great that we could help one of these beautiful birds.... but since I have been telling you this, the story has progressed... the baby bird was found once again on the ground, having been kicked out of the nest by a sibling. Survival of the fittest. Every animal, however small, fighting for its right to survive.

The baby sunbird tucked safely in his nest

The story end happily though, with us being able to transfer the chick into a nearby nest abandoned earlier this season, and feathered it with those from it's original nest. The mother sunbird looked all around for the chick, no longer in her nest, to hear it cheeping loudly nearby. We hope she will decide to continue feeding and tending to the chick, but nature can be tough on the young.