In yesterday's post (here) I mentioned that John had called me to come and see the "parrot" (their name for it) had arrived again. Three weeks ago, John came running into the kitchen to tell me that he and David had spotted a strange bird. I regularly take my bird book out and show both the gardeners plates of birds of interest which we have in the garden. (See my post of a juvenile Diederik here) As it's winter now, and not many "different" birds visit us at this time, I was not sure what to expect. Following John out to behind the garage where David was standing under a leaf-less plum tree and pointing upwards. it took me a minute to see what the men were so excited about. With John also pointing upwards and saying "mane"(Sesotho for "there") I eventually spotted the bird. It was a bright blue budgie!
I explained to the gardeners that this bird had escaped from a cage in someone's house. I couldn't think whose pet it could be, but told the men to leave it alone. It might fly back to it's owners home or, if it was still outdoors at nightfall, it would probably die from exposure.
I had all but forgotten about this little bird, when last week John knocked on the office window and told me to come quickly. The "parrot" had returned and was sitting in a tree in the big garden. Armed with my camera, I crept up to the tree John pointed to, and sure enough, there was the same little budgie sitting on the branch amongst the other wild birds. I could hear his melodious swizzling song above that of the Cape White Eyes, Southern Masked Weavers, White Browed Sparrow Weavers and Cape Sparrows. I was amazed; how had he survived? We had been experiencing some very cold nights in the past two weeks, yet he here he was, looking quite fit and well.
I sent the photos off to a very good friend of ours in Port Elizabeth who has caged budgies and canaries in their home. He replied to my e-mail that having this little bird survive outdoors in my garden is amazing but also very sad. He didn't think it would survive a really cold spell which we always expect in August. He suggested I contact someone to come and catch it and cage it. I do know of one gentleman who has a bird aviary in town. I might go and ask his opinion. If this bird has escaped from his cages, he'd probably be able to come to my garden, call it and have it fly into his hand.
My friend also told me an almost unbelievable story of a friend of his who was fishing off the rocks at the beach. Suddenly he spotted a tiny but brightly-coloured bedraggled bundle in the swirling waters below his feet. He reached down and scooped up a half-drowned budgie. He dried it, took it home and within days it was right as rain. He called it Jonah and it lived for may years in a cage in his home.
After a few more minutes of photographing the budgie and its new friends, I wandered camera in hand, through my garden. The late afternoon sun was warm and the shadows made my brown, almost bare garden look soft and inviting. Imagine my delight when I spotted a resident pair of Hadeda Ibis strutting along the bottom of my garden.
I approached quietly and managed to get a few good photos of the larger of the two birds, which is the male. while the female slunk out of sight along the garden wall. Here (above) he even stopped and posed for me.