Saturday, July 26, 2008

FREE AS A BIRD

After 99 days, the time finally came for Kekoa (Brave One) to return back to the wild. It was something we knew we had to do and had been making excuses not to do for weeks. It was so sad to see him all cooped up and not be able to run about and look for bugs on his own. We were all set to do it a week ago, but we had some pretty heavy rains with wind and did not want to turn him loose during those for his first day out. We wanted to wait for it to be a nice day where he could wander about and get a feel for his new surroundings without taking cover from the rain.

And although we let him hang out in the house the last few days where he could stretch his wings and get some exercise, we were not going to be able to keep that up much longer. We could just tell he was ready. He was not so keen on being picked up anymore and when we approached the coop he would hide behind his branches or flatten out in the tall grass rather than greet us at the door.

The coop in a location away from neighboring animals with beach towels lining the bottom after the dog encounter. This way nothing could see in to him and it helped to protect him from scrapping his injured beak on the fencing.

Hiding out behind his branches just before the release.

Around lunchtime we went out and fed him one last pan full of slugs-n-bugs before sending him on his way. We just left the door open and let him out, then directed him back in so he would know.. ok you're out, but you can go back in if you want. We did this a few times not really sure it would register with him that he could come back. He wandered around close to us and the coop for about an hour then made his way to the gulch where we kept an eye on him until we directed him back near the coop. he was a little thirsty so we set out several bowls of water in a few locations for him and left him on his own.

Getting a feel for the land.

About an hour later I found him hanging out and drinking from his bowl. Again I let him be and came back inside. Another hour passed and I went to find him wandering the gulch, pecking the ground and looking very content. Again I came back inside and that was the last time we have seen him. That's not to say he's not still here, because he is very good at hiding and blending in as you can see from some of these shots.

Wandering the gulch.

Where's Kekoa?

We are not really worried about him being alone at all. He is a wild bird after all and have witnessed all his wild behaviors like laying on cloth or surfaces that he blended in with rather than lighter colors. Searching for a high roosting place in the evenings around 6:00 when it was time for bed. He made do by taking his dirt bath while in the house in a beach towel on the floor. He just had all the behaviors of a wild bird. One day I had a sisal rope on the deck and he became so cautious and flustered, walking around it very slowly with an outstretched neck giving a warning by softly clucking away at it. He also did the same thing when my mom's straw bag with rope handles was in view. I believe he thought it was a snake because of the texture. I always thought it strange that even though we have no snakes here, that he would still have the instinct to be be wary of snakes even though it must have been several generations since anyone in his family had encountered one.

We'll keep you posted if he comes back around and will most likely do a post with our favorite Kekoa moments soon.

Day one. Almost no bigger than a blade of grass.

Thursday - Day 98.
Quite the big bird with beautiful coloring and markings beginning to appear.

Our work here is done. He was delivered to us so that we could protect and nourish him to the point where he could survive the wild on his own. We hope we raised him well and that he is having a grand old time out there enjoying paradise as a free bird.


3 comments:

Parnell Corder said...

The Caged Bird Sings A Fearful Trill...

Goodbye Kekoa! Good Luck! See You Around The Island!

Michele said...

You and John are so lovely, I can't even take it all in. Fly Kekoa--or run. Beautiful story.

xom

baffle said...

HUZZAH! for Camou(flage) Kekoa (or, favoring island consonants) ~ Kamou Kekoa!

Perhaps his return to the immediate environs of 'home' was to check in on YOU GUYS to see if YOU were OK...

Surely 'The Love' goes both ways.
Good job, everyone!