Category: wild birds


In December 2020, the police rescued two Eurasian collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) from illegal pet traders and brought them to the WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) in Bangalore, India.

First they were temporarily put into a cage, then moved to an aviary.

Fortunately, their feathers had not been clipped by the pet traders. If their feathers had been clipped, the recovery time would have taken much longer and been more difficult since the birds would have had to molt and then regrow their feathers.

In this case, since the feathers were intact, both had good flight, were active, and flew about with ease in the large aviary in which they were housed.

This lovely pair of doves had narrowly escaped having to spend their whole lives in captivity. Thanks to quick action by the police and the excellent care they received at the WRRC, their lives will be happy ones, spent in freedom in the wild.

After two months both were released together at the center since their species can be found in the forests nearby. They can still be heard, not far away, with their distinct vocalizations.

Photo credit: WRRC

© Forest Voices of India, 2021

An adult Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) was rescued and brought from the village adjoining the forest, close to the WRRC center.

Somehow his leg had been broken. Some of the villagers tried their best for quite some time to catch him, but he always managed to slip away from them. Unfortunately, by the time they were able to catch him and bring him in for treatment, the leg had deteriorated so much that it had to be amputated, which was done by Dr. Roopa Satish and her team. He soon recovered and was able to get around well with just one leg.

His flying ability was good, and he was doing really well. However, he was still a handicapped bird, and it wouldn’t be safe for him to be released deep in the forest. So, he was released at the WRRC center itself where he can choose to make little forays into the nearby forest or spend his days in the area of the center itself. This is a much safer life for him. He is very comfortable there, sleeping in any one of the treetops, or watching the activities of the center from a front row perch on a roof – or, as Dr. Roopa writes, “occasionally coming down to earth to grace us with his beautiful plumage.”

Photo credit: WRRC

In September of 2020, a juvenile spot-billed pelican (Pelicanus phillipensis) was rescued from a home in the city of Bangalore and brought to the WRRC (the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, in Bangalore, India).

When she arrived, she was shy around people and also aggressive, as a wild bird would normally be. She wasn’t yet able to fly. She wasn’t feeling well, was not eating, and seemed to have an infection, so she was treated for this and was handfed.

Dr. Roopa Satish and the caregivers realized that, probably, the pelican was from one of the city lakes and had been kidnapped, possibly to be used for meat. Fortunately, she had been rescued by a good Samaritan, who understood just where to take her and brought her to the WRRC so she could receive expert care.

Learning to fly

Before long, she was able to eat on her own and was beginning to flap her wings, lift herself into the air, and exercise her flight muscles. Soon, she was put into a larger aviary where she had a wonderful time learning to fly. After a few months though, she could fly so well that the aviary became too small for her. She was brushing her wings against the sides in flight and risking hurting herself, so she really needed to be released right away.

This was a dilemma though because there were no pelicans flying in the immediate vicinity in the Bannerghatta Forest and the city lakes were not pleasant or safe release sites due to the high volume of human activity – fishing, boating, strolling, and bird watching. They weren’t a good place for a wild bird to be.

A place of refuge

In February, 2021, the pelican was driven 180 kilometers (50 miles) to a very special village, Kokkrebelluru, which is filled with birds. The people there love the birds and even sing songs to welcome them back after their migration. Nearby there are large, clean, beautiful lakes – good places for pelicans to catch fish. There are many other species of birds, such as painted storks, ibis, and Brahminy kites. The local villagers protect the birds, so they feel at home there, and they build hundreds of nests in the surrounding trees.

This was the perfect place for the pelican. She was released there at a research center for pelicans set up by the Forest Department and overseen by a pelican researcher.

They will keep an eye on her as she learns to fish for herself and will give some supplemental feeding if it is needed. When she’s fully ready, she’ll be able to live her life free in the wild, in a beautiful, safe, protected spot of great beauty. She’ll make new friends and will be able to migrate and return again to this idyllic place, living her life in freedom as nature intended.

Thanks to thoughtful person who rescued her, the expert care given by the WRRC team, and the help of the research center and the kind villagers of Kokkrebelluru, the pelican who very nearly became dinner is now all set to have a bright and happy future.


Photo credit: WRRC

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Pexels.com

Thank you for being our home. Thank you for your sacred beauty.

May your lands be blessed and released from harm. May your oceans and waters be clean and safe for all the beings who live within them. May your forests grow tall, and your wild lands be green and filled with life. May your rocks, cliffs, and sacred mountains tower in majesty.

May your life and your spirit be healed that you may be strong and well – that your children – the birds, the animals, the plants, and all peoples — may live in peace and wellbeing.

May you be freed from oppression, tyranny, and the hand of death that you may be well once more, as nature intended. May the forces of the harmful shadow dwindle, vanish, and be gone – returned to non-existence. May the phantom demons of hate leave – fallen into the abyss, never to return.

May the beauty of your sacred spirit fly in the wind on the wings of birds, run with the swift feet of the four-legged ones, and swing with the gentle, waving branches of the juniper trees.

May all your life and your sacred spirit be blessed, honored, revered, restored, and whole.

May the sun, the moon, and the stars bless you with their radiant light and their presence.

May you rise again in joy, power, and magic, in this age and in the age that is to come.

© Sharon St Joan, 2021

The two-week old chicks were found on the ground by a kind person. They must have tumbled out of their nest, which was too high up for them to be returned to it.

Last May, right in the middle of the pandemic, they were brought from the city of Bangalore in south India to the nearby Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre.

In spite of it being summer, the little Indian mynas needed to be kept very warm, because small chicks cannot regulate their own temperature. They are dependent on the warmth of their parents, so when they have been orphaned, they need extra warmth. They were put into a very cozy basket so they could cuddle together and were monitored carefully. In the beginning they were handfed. Nestlings need to be fed much more frequently and much greater quantities of food than anyone could imagine. In the wild, this keeps both their parents very busy. Slowly, these chicks started to learn to feed on their own. And, after a while, when they were self-feeding and had grown a bit bigger so they could regulate their own temperature and stay warm enough, they were moved into a slightly larger cage.

Three months later they were moved into an aviary which had double mesh protection to guard against wild predators who might visit at night. Here they began to get practice flying, preparing for their next stage of life and their journey to freedom.

A few months later, they were moved again into a big aviary much like their natural habitat – filled with trees and branches, mud, and there were lots of insects there that they could catch, since insects are their natural diet.

Mynas are native to several Asian countries, including India. Unfortunately, they have been often been captured for the pet trade and subsequently released into the wild into habitats where they do not belong, in countries where they do not naturally exist. Of course, this is not the birds’ fault. Birds should never be captured and taken from the wild, unless they are orphaned or injured and in need of rehabilitation by a trained wildlife rehabilitator, followed by release back to the wild.

After nine months, these beautiful mynas, now strong and healthy, were released at the WRRC center where they are free to come and go as they please at the center itself or in the adjoining woodlands. Now they can live their lives happily in the natural habitat where they are meant to be. Dr. Roopa Satish, the WRRC licensed wildlife rehabilitator, writes, “They love to check up on us from time to time.”

*****

Forest Voices of India

– conducts charitable fundraising services for environmental charities, especially in India.

WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India

– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.

– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.

How you can help

Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.

Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

© Forest Voices of India, 2021

Photo credits © WRRC, 2021

When the kind people in the village of Kokkrebelluru in south India took a look at the two fledgling young birds who had fallen from their home in the trees, they knew right away that serious help was needed. It wasn’t going to be enough to just feed them and take care of them until they recovered. The right wing of each of the little birds was drooping, had broken in their fall, and just wasn’t going to get better by itself.

Soon they were able to organize a car to take the fledglings on the two-hour drive to the Bannerghatta Rehabilitation Centre, the WRRC, near Bangalore, for some expert veterinary care.

When they arrived, the little ones were looking tired and not too well. Falling from one’s home is traumatic – after all, it is losing one’s home and one’s family, plus sustaining an injury. And the road during parts of the drive was a bit bumpy too.

One of the spot-billed pelicans was a bit bigger than the other and had fallen earlier, he weighed 10 pounds (5 kilos). The smaller one weighed 6 pounds (2.89 kilos). Dr. Roopa Satish gave them pain killers, antibiotics, and fluids to rehydrate them, along with some antibiotics and anti-parasite treatment. Their wings were bandaged so that they would heal in the correct position.

Looking a bit brighter

By the next morning, they looked quite a lot brighter and were able to hold their heads up and look around. At first they were handfed, then after a week when they were a bit stronger, they began to eat on their own. Thanks to the doctor’s expertise, the kindness of their rescuers, and the excellent care given by the WRRC caregivers, they were soon full of energy again. They enjoyed their stay at WRRC where they gained a lot of strength and had time for their wings to heal.

They were in a big aviary, but it wasn’t quite big enough to practice flying, since pelicans are huge birds. After three weeks, their wings were unwrapped, and they began to use them again – at first just running and flapping. Day by day, they grew stronger, but they needed a place big enough to regain their full flying strength.

Getting ready for life back in the wild

It’s really essential that birds being rehabilitated be able to get enough exercise to fly perfectly. Life in the wild can be tough; flying requires a huge level of energy, and a bird has to be in perfect shape to be able to find food, escape predators, and be able to migrate. Because spot-billed pelicans are very large birds, the very best way for these two birds to get the exercise needed would be for them to go back to Kokkrebelluru village. There they’d be among other pelicans and would have room to stretch their wings, gain strength, and fly up into trees.

Kokkrebelluru isn’t just any village; it’s a very special village, in the Indian state of Karnataka, where the people have a remarkable affinity for the birds. The village is known for many miles around for the special relationship that the people have with the both storks and pelicans. The people care for them, make sure they are safe, and even sing songs to them to welcome them back after their migration.

So, the two fledgling pelicans were given a ride back to Kokkrebelluru to rejoin their flock and to spend some time gaining very strong flight skills. Thanks to expert care, they’ll be able to spend their lives in freedom back in the wild again.

The WRRC is licensed to rehabilitate wild birds and other wildlife. Whatever country you live in, if you should ever come across an injured or orphaned wild bird, you can get help for the bird by contacting a center that does wildlife rehabilitation; they will know how to care for the bird.

© Forest Voices of India, 2020

Forest Voices of India
– conducts charitable fundraising services for environmental charities, especially in India.

WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India
– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.
– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.

How you can help

Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.
Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

Photo credits:

These two photos are different spot-billed pelicans in India, not the same birds as those that were rehabilitated at WRRC.

First photo:Photo 177523154 © Wirestock | Dreamstime.com

Second photo:Photo 139463471 © Venkatajalandar A S | Dreamstime.com

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Six months ago when they first arrived, the four birds looked bedraggled and had many missing feathers.

 

The four peafowl had been rescued from a farm and brought to the WRRC by a kind Forest Officer.

 

Among beautiful hills in south India, Byrakuru Village is part of the town of Mulbagal, the most eastern town in the state of Karnataka. There, the Range Forest Officer of the Karnataka Forest Department came across the four adult peafowl on a farm. They were being kept illegally, eventually to use for meat. In the meantime, their spectacular, beautiful feathers were being plucked out for use in decorations.

 

The Range Forest Officer drove for a couple of hours to bring them all the way to the WRRC, the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, near Bangalore, beside the Bannerghatta Forest.

 

In India, of course, peafowl are native wild birds – not meant to be kept in captivity or on farms. They ought to be living free, happy lives in the wild. Instead, these four birds arrived greatly in need of some special care and rehabilitation. In the beginning, they could barely fly at all, and, to make matters worse, they’d become habituated to people and were way too tame to be releasable. If they were released before they were ready, they might be captured again by people, or become prey for wild animals.

 

Fortunately, they were brought to just the right place and they’re in very capable hands. At the WRRC, which is licensed to rehabilitate wildlife, they are given the excellent care that they need to be able to fly free once again.

 

They have been placed in a large aviary together, where there’s lots of space. With plenty of room for exercise, they’re regaining their strength and growing back their flight feathers. At the same time, being kept away from people will make them shy, elusive and wild again. This is achieved by not interacting with them at all and keeping visitors away.

 

Every evening, though, they do receive amazing wild visitors — wild peafowl from the adjoining forest drop by to say hello, and they can watch each other, though separated by the enclosure. Naturally, these visits from their wild friends greatly help the peafowl to be wilder and to once again see themselves as wild birds.

 

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They are fed a good, healthy diet – a wide variety of seeds, fruits, vegetables and insects to acclimatize them to the food sources that will be available to them in the forest. Day by day, they are growing less and less dependent on human beings.

 

After six months at the WRRC, their flight feathers have grown in well, and their flight has greatly improved. However, they are still curious about people and don’t shy away from visitors. Hence, some more rehabilitation time is required. They still have a way to go before they’re wild enough to be released.

 

But that time will come. Soon, they’ll be back in the wild where they’ll join their new-found friends – once again to fly wild and free and live in the beautiful forest where they belong.

 

Photos: WRRC

 

WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India

– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.

– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.

How you can help

Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.

Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

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In among the trees dozens and dozens of spotted deer munched on their breakfast of leaves and grass.

 

This August morning, Ravi Shankar, the CPREEC field officer for Karnataka, in south India, was taking a group of college students into Devarayanadurga Forest, where they soon encountered the herd of deer.

 

The students were from the nearby Sri Siddaganga College of Arts, Science, and Commerce.

 

Their task for the day however, wasn’t just to stand there in awe of the deer, it was to clean up a section of the forest.

 

The younger sister of one of the college students had tagged along. No one could discourage her because she had been quite determined to join the outing.

 

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When they set to work to gather up some of the trash to make the area clean as part of their service project, she picked up more litter than anyone else. Late that afternoon, not tired at all from a hard day’s work, she was all smiles.

 

Villagers and water birds

 

Throughout the school year, Ravi Shankar leads groups of students on outings away from city centers, crammed with shops and motorcycles, and out into the green, beautiful world of nature.

 

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In Kokkrebelur, a village near Mandia, in the state of Karnataka, the people have an extraordinary bond with water birds. In fact, “Kokkare”, the name of the village, means painted stork. Ravi Shankar took a group of students there to learn about the way that the villagers and the birds interact with each other. The whole village is a sanctuary for the birds. Instead of relating to the birds as a nuisance, they have long welcomed them and, over the centuries, have built up a close bond with them, viewing them as harbingers of good luck and prosperity. The villagers watch over and care for the painted storks, pelicans, and the other migrating species — little cormorants, black ibises, and herons.

 

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On this occasion, one of the baby storks had fallen out of his nest. When this happens, parent birds, unlike mammals, aren’t able to pick up and move the baby, much as they would like to. So, the villagers had picked him up and stepped in to become foster parents, feeding and caring for the youngster. Since he was still surrounded by his flock, he would have no trouble rejoining them later as soon as he was old enough to fly and could feed on his own.

 

Watching how much the villagers loved the birds was an amazing experience for the students. The village women even sang songs to the birds to welcome their return; they viewed them as friends and companions, as blessings sent from heaven.

 

The situation of wild birds is rather different in India compared to that in the U.S.

 

In the U.S. people are rightfully encouraged to leave wild birds alone, not to interfere with them, and especially not ever to try to tame them, so that the birds will always be well adjusted to their lives in the wild.

 

But India is a country of over one billion people. There are villages everywhere, and many villages are located right near or even inside forests, so the people and the wild birds are already living together in the forest. The ideal situation in India is just what is happening in this village – to have a very close bond between the people and the birds. The birds fly free, and yet they live close to humans and are comfortable around them. This is in keeping with the age-old reverence that has always existed in the culture of India for nature and wild creatures.

 

The Indian Forest Service encourages the villagers to live in harmony with the birds. In this area there are crops of sugar cane and also many large artificial lakes, called “tanks.” During the nesting season, nearby trees are overflowing with water birds. Because they can’t grow crops directly underneath trees filled with nests, the villagers are compensated with a fixed sum for each tree in which there are nesting birds, which provides a much-needed supplement to their income.

 

This is a wonderful example of co-existence. The trees too, which are the homes of the birds, are nurtured and cared for. The population of spot-billed pelicans is thriving and has doubled in recent years.

 

Forming a deep appreciation of nature

 

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Spending a day keeping the forest clean and picking up litter formed a tie between the forest and the students. Now they will truly care about the well-being of the trees and the wildlife there.

 

Meeting the young pelican being raised by the villagers and watching people happy to be surrounded by thousands of migratory birds made a lasting impression on the students – a vivid memory of harmony with birds in the forest that will shape their future views of the natural world.