Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Bird

I was devastated when I saw the dumbcane plant bent and the shredded nest lying at the base of the plant in the pot. The chick wasn't ready to fly yet and it couldn't have fallen off the nest on it's own. Somebody or something must have happened to it. Was it the work of any of my grand children? Lis (8) and Az (6) love the chick and the birds parent as much as I do. Could it be Irsyad? Could it be his his sister Ayen? Both of them knows the chick was there and I have personally explained to 3 year old Irsyad that we must care and love the chick till it is ready to fly and we will all give the bird a help to fly off. Two and a year old Ayen had lovingly caressed the bird which Irsyad didn't dare touch. No, not anyone of them.

The bent dumbcane plant without the nest.

The nest strewn at the base of the plant.

There were many stray cats or neighbour's cats cat around my house. We didn't keep any pet cat as my wife doesn't like the mess that cat does when it needs to poo or even the foot prints when they came in from the outside of the house when it rained. One of those cats must have pounced on the chick when it was making all those calls to the parents for food.

Wati the maid said she saw the chick on the ground but didn't know that the chick was a special one until we asked her if she had seen any such thing. We looked around the house compound to see if it was still anywhere around. We couldn't find it nor did we find any trace of the bird being cannibalized by anything be it a cat or any other animal of prey.

It definitely couldn't have flown off as the feathers were yet to be fully developed and looking at the frantic calls of the parents we felt something untoward must happenend to the chick. Poor chick and poor parent of the bird. After so much pain and labour they must have felt the lost of a newborn. There doesn't seem to be much difference between them and human parents when it comes to losing precious young ones.

Ever since I saw Pak Idrus of In Passing Malaysian doing a blog on nature featuring the squirrels coming to feed on the fruits left on the balcony of his house in Ampang, I have dreamt of doing the same thing about the birds and the squirrels that make my home their home as well.

As luck would have it, I saw a pair of birds that we local know it as burung kunyit building a nest on the dumbcane plant of my house. The choice of plant itself wasn't a wise decision as the plants are very weak in nature. There are no woody tissue in such a plant and wont be able to last. Another point of contention was the point where the nest was built was on the fronds of the leaf which I doubt could last long enough for the bird to grow up till it was able to fly off. The height of the nest was a mere 3 ft from the ground, too low by any standard. Location wise it wasn't good as it was too close to our main gate and all and sundry would be passing by. The mother when incubating the egg alter will be disturbed and thus the egg may turn rotten. Later on the mother bird will have problems feeding the chick as our presence and constant walking by will make the mother bird fly away thus interupting the feeding of the chick.

The potted dumbcane at the entrance of my house.

The new nest.

I can't blame them because they are mere birds with brain the size of a pea. This was an opportunity that I can never find if I want to do a blog about nature. Nature has presented itself to me at my door.

Several other places has been used by the birds to nest. Even this artificial plant was used. At least it is a far safer place being higher and well sheltered from the weather.

Even this artificial plant on the wall was used to build a nest by the birds.

The old nest.

Another favourite location is this plant which is quite bushy and strong. It is quite exposed to the weather though. There is still sign of an old nest there.

The garden plant the birds used to nest in.

Another old nest in the above plant.

How surprised I was when one day I saw two eggs being laid in the nest. It must have been laid a day each as I doubt any bird could lay two eggs in a day or at one go.At that time there just the three of us in the house, my wife Fatthiyah, me and our 7 months old grand daughter Balkis.

The two eggs laid in the nest.
The bird incubating the egg at night. Only the tail is visible.

When the bird started incubating the eggs, we tried as much as possible not to use the entrance near the bird's nest. Personally I went out of the way to allow it to warm the eggs without interuption unless we can't help it and had to use that very entrance because the car that needed to be used was parked there.
My observation indicated that this pair of bird is a very loyal couple. When one of them is incubating the egg, the other one will be looking for food. I guess the mother did the incubation more.
Silly me as I didn't note with certainty the number of days it took to incubate the egg until they egg was hatched. One of the two eggs did hatch producing a small chick. The bird continue incubating the egg and the hatched chick to keep it warm. I expect the other egg to hatch too but how wrong I was when it didn't. The constant interuptions from us when we passed by must have spoilt the other egg.
What happened was, during the incubation period my eldest daughter came back to deliver her third child. Her other 2 children Lis and Az 8 and 6 yrs old respectively were quite active and noisy when playing around the house. Though I taught them on how to behave when around the nest, as kids of their age, they are often boisterous and thus the incubation process was much interupted. It was lucky that one chick did hatch at all.

A day old chick.
I continue to record the daily progress.
Lis and Az inspecting the chick
The feathers started to grow
Always hungry and wanted to be fed. When the nest is slightly shaken, the chick opened it's mouth wide.The parents came to feed the chick
Feeding the chick

The last picture of the chick before the disturbance. With those feathers, the chick definitely cannot fly off.
My dear friends, I definitely couldnt do much to help the chick. My one desire was to see the chick fly off to continue producing chicks of their own. Could I have done something to help it?


yeappie said...

Pak Zawi,
You did the best you could under the circumstances. Hopefully the pair will return next season to nest again. I had the same delight last season when a pair of doves came and nested in my garden but the two chicks flapped out of the nest one day and that was the last we saw of them. We see the parents around now and we are hoping for them to nest again.

anasalwa said...

How sad the chick was gone, but as yeappie you already did your part. Your grandchildren must be devastated after lovingly watching the chick growing up.

Zawi said...

How true. The pair of birds has been scouting around for a new place to nest. I wish they didn't think of me as the one who killed their chick. I could feel their look of suspicion on mee and my family when they found the chick missing and the nest strewn about.
You are one lucky person to have witnessed the birds flying away.

Zawi said...

It was really sad but I was expecting it to happen due to the unsuitable location of the nesting site. It was so close to success for them.
My two older granddaugthers Lis and Az were sad too as I had involved them in looking after the birds for so long.
It was the cry of the chick for more food that must have attracted the cats. My theory was that the cat must had made a lunge at the nest knowing that there was food to be found on that fragile plants.

jaflam said...

Salam Zawi,
Lovely posting on nature and preserving the livings around us. I have a lot of Tupai and birds around my house, they were just lovely and create a beautiful environment around us. Now and then, I even have Musang roaming my garden and roof. Its not so nice having them roaming your ceiling but then they don't have much place to live now due to the development.

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
This must be the one you told me last week.
It must be sad and frustrating to have that chick, which you observed it from day one, lost without trace.
The best way to serve the nature is to let it be the way it should. Bird is a miraculous creation. Did you read Harun Yahya's book or watched his documentary? If you did, I believe you know what I mean.
It that was a very good lesson for your grandchildren; to observe and appreciate the nature.

Zawi said...

The birds and the squirrels are OK but the musang can be a real nuisance.
When I was living in Gua Musang we had a monitor lizard that matured from a small one to adulthood on oue ceiling. It was so heavy that the ceiling vibrated violently whenever it moved about. My children were often scared to death when the movement was too great.
Finally we managed to seal off the entrace to the ceiling after it ventured out scavenging for food. Later it was shot dead after it raided a neighbour's chicken coop.
Some animals are OK to have them around but definitely not monitor lizards or musang especially when they make your ceiling as their home.

Zawi said...

Yes its d one.
I must look up Harun Yahya's book or his other works as this is the first time I heard of him.
Yes I think we have to let nature takes its course. I guess it was fated that the chick becomes one part of the animals food chain. I pray to Allah that there will be another chance to observe the first flight of a bird born in the compound of my house.
Dah sampai KL ke?

Akmal said...

Pak Zawi,
Harun Yahyas' works are all for free. I have linked an access directly to his library in my side bar. You can also use this URL to go there.
Have a nice day.

Zawi said...


Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Pak Zawi
Survival instinct tells you that you have to find a place where it is safe. The birds found the potted dumbcane plant in the compound of your house to be a safe place for a nest. You did your best to ensure care for the chicks. External factors were working against it. Interference would not have done the chicks any good too.

Zawi said...

That was what I thought too. I shouldn't interfere with natures law. Maybe God wanted the birds to learn a lesson too that their choice of place to nest wasn't good enough. I knew it was sooner or later that the cat will get to the chick or the chick would have fallen due to the precarious position of the nest.
Its the thought of the grieving parents that brings me to realize how the parents of Sharlinie and the like would have felt when they lost their precious child.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Zawi,

MasyAllah! I dream as you do, of having God's creatures close to me as possible. May Allah s.w.t. bless you and your family, Pak Zawi.

As for your last statement, perhaps you could have, perhaps you can't. Having a wild-born creature accustomed to human touch may later lead to a disastrous effect. This can be seen from the tireless efforts of environmentalist in trying to return animals and alike to their natural environment - a feat easier said than done; I am quite sure you yourself are aware of this.

Still, I hope to be able to do the same in the future, where the space around my house can be utilised by God's creatures in relative safety.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Pak Zawi Attenborough,

It is sad to read this piece but all credits to you for having such noble intention. Looking at the plant, the chick was obviously exposed to all kinds of danger and i think fingers should pointing at the neighbour's cat. this is based on how badly wrecked the nest is and the kids love the chick too much to do such thing.

takpe pak Z, ada rezki lagi InsyaAllah ada lagi burung akan bersarang and hopefully yo get to put it on record till the end the next time around.

Zawi said...

I couldnt have said it better than what you did. There is nothing more for me to add. Thanks bro.

Zawi said...

There is proof to say that the neighbours cat did it but our calculated guess seems to go that way. I guess the chick was destined to be their food cos they too were hungry.
There will be more nesting of course and my sincere hope is that they will find better location the previous ones. What can we do since they are afterall simple animals with a simple brain.

Pak Idrus said...

zawi, seeing all those images I was indeed happy that you did take all those images but it broke my heart when you 'lost' those chick.

Without the feathers it just could not fly. Bird is very sensitive toward its nest. If it find that it had somewhat been tempered with by others especially human, it would try to move the eggs or its young. One of the reason is that it smell danger. In this case maybe the mother bird was trying to move the chick and in the process anythings could happen.

Putting the blame of others includes the cats in not a good idea. I believe that human or other animal had touch the nest, thus had left senses on it. Birds are sensitive to intruder and must have been trying to get the chick to a safer area. In the process anything could happen.

Well, in future, when the bird make nest, do try to provide other means of avoiding contact from other species. Maybe that area should be fenced so that the bird knows that the nest is safe.

Anyway do not lament, you have already done your best but instead do have a nice day.

Zawi said...

Pak Idrus.
How true. I think you threw some light on the mystery. I did touch the nest as it was almost falling off the fronds one. I did let my grandchildren touch and caress the chick in the hope that they will love the chick and help me to look after it. One discriminating evidence though was the way the dumbcane plant was disturbed. I don't think even the two adult birds could shift the position of the plants though the shredding of the nest could be their job.
In the last two days the chick was around, I saw the adult birds feeding the chick with frenzy as if willing the chick to eat as much and to grow as fast as possible to move away from the nest. Now I feel all the more guilty.
According to Wati the maid, she saw the chick moving away from the nest, but she didn't see how the chick fell down from it. Since she didn't realize the significance of the bird, she didn't tell anybody else at that time.
It is a lesson for me the next time around. Thank you for the enlightenment. Its a most valuable piece of information.

awang said...

Salam Pak Zawi,
Interesting post on nature..Love life love nature.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak zawi:

Reading this post made my heart swell.
Whenever birds make a nest at our home, you really feel that somehow nature/animals knew that you loved them. Like you we too had several nests at home but alhamdulillah they are high in the trees.
Maybe the birds knew despite us liking and loving animals, we had 9 cats at home and 3 of them are sure good hunters.

At we have sqiurrels 'tebok-ing ' our coconuts and nangka. And there is a group of monkeys which roamed behind our house stalking our banana and papaya.
And now we don't even had the chance of tasting our Laichi and mata kucing anymore.Its either the tupais or monkeys.

Last year we had 3 babi hutan at the empty plot beside ours,feeding on the tapiocas.

And the scariest part is we do get visits from our slimmy black friend, the cobra( once had to call the Fire Brigade).

InsyaALLAH, the birds will choose your home again.And please tell them to find somewhere higher this time!

Zawi said...

Saja cuba cuba sementara menanti result Biopsis test anak besok.
I really enjoyed taking pictures of the birds. How I wish to have a better camera. Eyeing the Sony Alpha 350. Hope to get it soon.

Zawi said...

Doc TA,
You are such a lucky man to have a house in an orchard. It is really a kampung setting and must be really soothing to live in.
We only have room for two trees, the rambutan and the ciku. The rambutan is fairly tall in height but doesnt seem to attract anything to nest in it. The chiku tree which used to attract the birds and squirrels to feed has died off due to an influx of the parasitic dedalu which I was not able to remove in time. There are other smaller shrubs though.
Hopefully they will come back.

Nightwing said...

Helo Pak Zawi,

Thank you for sharing this...i have never seen a baby chick before but so sorry something happended to it.

Like u mentioned, the cats might have something to do with it.

Zawi said...

I feel most privileged to have been able to witness the hatching of this chick. Saw it from nest making till the chick came to the age of almost flying off.
I just guessed it was eaten by the cat though I have no proof of it. I could be wrong.
I am most happy if you like this sharing.

U.Lee said...

Hello Zawi, really enjoyed going thru your pictures.
Hey, I think its good luck birds come to nest outside and inside you beautiful house.
As its beginning of Spring here, we now starting to see Red Robins, Cardinals, Doves around singing.
And here there's lots of raccoons climbing up trees to churi bird's eggs.
You should have a bird house hanging somewhere, put some bird seeds and will gets lots of them come around to entertain you and your grandkids, ha ha.
By the way, how's your daughter? Hope this finds her well, and you and family too.
Best regards, Lee.

Zawi said...

Birds has been nesting in my house compound for sometimes. Will be happy if it brings me luck.
It is really nice to be near nature. Everyday I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping. Will think about the bird house but I scared I may attract the pigeons which can be a nuisance when it breeds well. I think it may be nicer to have it the natural way. May entice them with some bird seeds as you suggest though. There are many doves around here.
My daughter has an appointment at the O & G Clicnic University Hospital today. The result will be out today and it will determine whether my daughte need further surgery. She seems to be very well today and dont seem to suffer any pain. I am praying to God that there is nothing wrong wit her. Thanks to your prayers and other friends prayers. Hope God will answer them this once. Will post something on the result.
Take care and enjoy nature my friiend.

kbguy said...

Did the mother bird come back to feed the chick ? If not, buy the worms at the pet shop where they sells to feed the arowana fish, and use the "lidi" to feed the chicks. I think that will help. But be carefull of the snakes, rats and cats that would come to harm the chicks.
I used to see lots of nest at my garden too, but never the chicks.

Zawi said...

The mother birds did came to feed the chick but the chick was gone from the nest. Th chick was probably eaten by the cats.
Now the same birds are building a new nest and I am recording and monitoring their activities daily. I will be blogging about it too.
Anyway I won't be feeding the chick unless I have to (if the mother birds get killed or something).