Author Archives: sherylbottner

The Little Owl Sanctuary: Waddlesworth Strikes Again

Another great post from guest blogger, Sarah Higgins of the Little Owl Sanctuary!

A few mornings ago Waddlesworth, the Pelican, excelled himself. He swallowed a teaspoon!

Sammy had just laid the table on the veranda when ‘himself’ arrived and snatched a teaspoon off the table. This is not unusual and we are always shooing him off the veranda as he can be a bit of a pest, but he was just too quick for Sammy and the spoon was gone before he could do anything about it. Swallowing the spoon was unusual as he normally just plays with whatever he has stolen until he gets bored and then he drops it and goes off to find something else to play with. Anyway Sammy didn’t know what to do and as I was not around he decided to give him some fish in the hope, I think, that the food would flush the spoon through the system. Whilst this might work for a human I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t work for a pelican.

So you swallowed a spoon, did you?

So you swallowed a spoon, did you?

As soon as I got back and had been told what had happened I rang our Vet and asked his advice but he had to confess that he had never had a situation like that before and told me that he would have to consult his partner and his books and then get back to me. Some time later he rang back to say that he was none the wiser.

Now, this won't hurt ...

Now, this won't hurt ...

As we know that baby pelicans put their heads inside their parent’s beaks to get the fish out of its crop, I decided that the only option was for me to put my arm down the poor creature’s throat and try to fish the spoon out. The Vet had kept muttering about anaesthetic but I decided that time was of the essence (our Vet is an hour and a half’s drive from here) and didn’t feel that this was strictly necessary so I rang next door and asked Jane to “bring a camera”, rounded up Waddles, got Sammy to hold him and Mwanzia to hold his beak open, oiled my arm with cooking oil and in I went.

Here we go ...

Here we go ...

Unfortunately there were about seven fish on top of the spoon but having fished them all out I eventually felt the spoon, part way through the second sphincter, and was able to retrieve it, much to the relief of us all … with the possible exception of Waddles who had just had his entire breakfast stolen, quite literally, right out of tummy!

Look! You can see my hand

Look! You can see my hand

Gosh, it's a long way down

Gosh, it's a long way down

Got it!

Got it!

Amazingly Waddles is still talking to me after all this, as he usually refuses to speak to me for at least a week after I have had to handle him and more often than not he also leaves home (for a day)! Not that he got the option this time as I confined him to the walled garden for the rest of the day until we were sure that he had suffered no ill effects from my cheerfully thrusting my arm down his throat. The attached pictures are courtesy of Eddie Ver Beek who was literally just arriving back from his honeymoon when Jane caught him and told him that he and his camera were needed next door!

The spoon

The spoon

Waddlesworth is still in fine fettle but I hope that he has learned his lesson and doesn’t swallow anything else that he shouldn’t.

There, that's better ...

There, that's better ...

The Little Owl Sanctuary: Waddlesworth and Rosy

Another great guest post from Sarah Higgins

Waddlesworth is still with us and is worth his weight in gold for all the chuckles he gives us. He spends his days mucking about in the garden, pulling the flowers off my plants and annoying the tortoises by attempting to catch their heads whilst they are trying to eat. When he is feeling really adventurous he gallops (a pelican’s ungainly version thereof) down the lawn and into the air for a quick spin round the bay, but making sure that he is always back in time for ‘lunch’! Then a post-lunch snooze, some more rotting-up of the tortoises and guddling in his little pond and then it is food time again!

He has just recovered from (according to him) a very serious injury! He came in a couple of weeks ago and claimed that he was totally unable to walk. He refused his fish and just lay there with his foot off the ground and was even trying to keep his wing away from the foot. We couldn’t find anything wrong with him bar a little cut on the bottom of his paddle but after a couple of days of this we decided that we were going to have to call the vet. The vet couldn’t find anything that could cause this serious inability to even put his foot to the ground but suggested all sorts of things that we could do to try and help the bird. After day three both Sammy (Waddlesworth’s keeper/mum!) and I had decided that all that was wrong with him really was that small cut on the bottom of his paddle, after all pelicans are renown for getting stressed over the silliest things! So we just continued to carry him out into the sun in the mornings and carry him back to his favourite sleeping spot in the evenings and forced fish down his throat at meal times and ‘Hey presto’ after five days he could walk (with a dramatic limp) and by day seven had forgotten all about it and was cured! It is silly enough that we have a pelican living with us but to have a hypochondriac pelican – well!

He is still showing absolutely no sign of leaving home, I suppose that life must just be too comfortable for him. Perhaps if I cut his food a bit he might think about going and looking for his own, but somehow I doubt it and anyway, with the lake so low, there are not that many fish available for hungry pelicans!

He often amuses himself by trying to catch butterflies but the other day he snapped at a hornet, which naturally didn’t take too kindly to this and stung him in his pouch. I looked up from my lunch just in time to see him open his beak with a squawk and the offended hornet fly out and away. Then there was a great deal of shaking out of the pouch trying to get rid of the nasty pain, poor fellow. You should have seen the swelling that had come up by evening, it was really quite impressive, but by next day all was okay again. I just hope that he learned from that but I doubt it. He still tries to catch butterflies!

Waddles has recently taken to having his bath in the bird bath and, as you can see, it is a perfect fit! Which of course means that he doesn’t get very much of himself wet during the wash, particularly as he has usually spent some time prior to his ablutions using his bill and pouch to scoop most of the water out of the bath! It amuses him to watch the water flow over the edge and then try to catch it on the way down!

Waddles enjoying the bird bath

Waddles enjoying the bird bath

Rosy does not seem to have made any progress with his ability to see. We watch him closely and grasp at every little sign that his sight might be improving but I regret to say I am beginning to give up hope a little. He can see something so the operations were not totally wasted, and can certainly see enough to get round his ‘palace’ on foot and be able to hop up onto his perches. He seems to see much better in poorer light (he has trouble when it is very bright), so these rainy days that we have been having over the past few months have definitely been good for him. He can detect movement in the grass and makes a very good attempt at pouncing on things but if the movement is too fast he can’t follow it and Girl then takes over. Despite this they both seem happy and call often so although the lack of sight seems to have put a stop to the breeding programme they both appear to be content with their lot and are both in very good health.

Mutt the Lammergeyer Release, Part II

Mutt the Lammergeyer flew into a border zone where security is not so good. The next five days were some of the toughest I have had for many years. I scrambled, slid, abseiled and climbed in search of an elusive “blip” on a radio receiver. I was scared because if she was killed or disappeared out of radio contact I would have the death of a very rare animal on my conscience. The responsibility of it was sickening especially so as others would take a dim view and consider this seriously if it failed. In hands-on wildlife management critics are ever ready to oppose, no matter what the outcome. It was not good to worry about people’s opinions but as we searched with an ever increasing risk of finding her dead, I kept reinventing what I was going to have to report. In every respect this was the best chance Mutt would have, with the huge resources of Ol Donyo Laro supporting her. If she failed here she would have no hope anywhere else.

I exhausted three ranger patrols, which would have made me chuffed had I not been highly alarmed and in dread of finding her dead. Frustratingly Mutt proved yet again her total inability to return to the “hack” site for food. Instead she hid. Sometimes she must have flown out of one canyon into another, hugging the forested contours and never venturing out into visual range.



From a distance the Nguruman mountains look like rolling hills cloaked in forest with patches of cliffs and open grassland glades. From afar these look ideal and it is possible to find elephant paths that allow easy walking. You can walk the entire length of these mountains in glorious wooded avenues stamped asunder by millennia of elephants and buffalos. To picture the untrodden slopes in which Mutt was so unkind as to spend the night, think of taking a few dollops of mashed potatoes and arranging them in a neat line like Alpine mountains. Then with the back of the fork go berserk scraping the lower sides with furrows and ridges. Then pour thick gravy all over it so that you cannot see these wicked furrows and you have made the section of mountains in which Mutt decided to hide. It looks smooth and forested from the outside, but in fact it is deeply scared beneath with a myriad ridges. It is impossible to get a good fix on a radio signal because radio waves bounce or get cloaked depending upon the landscape.

Larle, a ranger who had helped me with the previous failed release, was inexhaustible and stayed with me for two days. Like me he was unarmed and did not carry a flak jacket, provisions, radio, heavy army boots etc., as did our accompanying ranger force. We left them far behind as we moved mostly on all fours through terrible terrain.

The second night I had awoken with deep pain in the back and was unable to sleep until dawn. The day before, while negotiating a rocky slope in thickets I had slipped badly and hurt my stomach and back with the stiff backpack which had a thick kidney belt. The next morning I urinated some blood and decided to take it easy and stayed in camp. Thankfully things settled down. All I got that day from Mutt was a steady and reassuring signal coming from the same sort of area far across the valleys. The next day we went early with a fresh team who surged ahead and left me behind. They had no idea where they were going and soon came back. Cautious about my health I plodded along warning them that they had no idea what was in store for them. They needed to reserve their energy.

The next 10 hours saw us sliding and crashing up and down vertical banks, sometimes on ropes. The rangers would pause every hour to shake their heads in wonder. Surely none had seen these parts of the mountain and I believed them. Mutt’s signal was wandering. She was flying. We went lower down the mountain descending hundreds of meters mostly on our backs and finally appeared at a large spring. The water was cold, very pure and much appreciated. The spring fed a small riverine line of tall trees and beyond it was the lowland hot acacia woodlands. The hill here was called Milima moto (meaning hot hill), and it lived up to it.

The rangers, feeling as though they had all survived an awesome experience all expressed a resolution that no matter what we would continue on and find Mutt no matter how far she had gone. They were prepared to walk a week or more and have rations dropped on them from the sky. Still feeling beat from ailing kidneys, my comradery with my new fraternity faltered at this suggestion and I sincerely hoped that I could borrow a plane instead.

In line with her radio signal we saw a Crowned Eagle fly out over the hot lowlands and descend fast. I thought this odd because Crowned Eagles are restricted to the high forested slopes from which we had come. The radio suddenly went quite, an ominous sign in this flat landscape. We trudged on towards Magadi sweating profusely in the stifling heat. I tried the radio receiver and changed course to the left. It was so faint a signal and she sounded a very long distance away. Maybe she was covering ground fast. Then appearing before us were a few giraffe looking down and there on the ground was Mutt. She had been beaten to the ground by the Crowned Eagle.

In the next few weeks I organized a new home for her at the Honorable Mutula Kilonzo’s residence near Machakos. Mutt has had more than enough opportunities for freedom and has demonstrated an inability to return to the place of release. She never ate and spent her freedom sulking, frightened and hidden. Even with the full support of Ol Donyo Laro and their formidable team of rangers we recognized that another release attempt would be fatal. I was disappointed in the lack of other wild Lammergeyers, as these hills were in previously known habitat for this species. The Lammergeyer or Bearded Vulture is certainly a critically endangered species in Kenya, and the future of Mutt must now include captive breeding. This enormous bird is much less common and considerably more threatened than more high profile species that receive generous attention.

Portrait of Mutt

Portrait of Mutt

To be honest I dread the responsibility of re-opening the Bearded Vulture re-introduction project, as it will entail considerable physical effort and fiscal resources. Neither of which I have these days! The lessons I learnt nearly a decade ago were not so much the difficulty in achieving a re-introduction, but the insurmountable problems encountered in modern day conservation bureaucracy. This project needs international consent as well as local, and to please all parties takes patience and a lot of hard office work. I am grateful to have high level support from a prominent MP who has a personal desire to see the species re-instated. It would seem that Mutt, like it or not, keeps the flame alive for Lammergeyers in Kenya.

I have a few priorities to straighten out in securing a place to work and live before I can focus attention on Mutt. Meanwhile we are planning a breeding shed similar to the condor breeding sheds in San Diego Zoo and the Peregrine Fund in Boise Idaho.

The Little Owl Sanctuary: Waddlesworth Update

by Sarah Higgins

I am pleased to report that Waddlesworth is not only in fine feather but is also in perfect health.

Thanks to the many responses that we had to our appeal for information on our ‘squishy’ bird, I can now report that Pelicans are supposed to feel as if they have bubble wrap just under their skin because they actually do have the bird-equivalent of bubble wrap just under their skin! These are little air-filled pockets are designed for floatation, insulation and protection when diving. I have been absolutely fascinated by the amount of information that has come in and am very grateful for all of your responses – and also very relieved as it means that there is nothing wrong with Waddlesworth!

Waddlesworth has been for his third flight which, by his standards, was an epic trip. He was so disgusted at being tagged that he actually left home, got lost and ended up in our sheep field behind the house. As we hadn’t seen where he had landed he spent the night there – his first night out in the big wild world! We didn’t discover him ’til the next morning and, as he still wasn’t talking to us, he refused to come home. So I left him there and told our staff to just keep a distant eye on him. By lunch time Sammy (his foster mum) couldn’t bear it any longer and went up to the field, caught him and carried him back home under his arm (much to Waddles’ disgust). At that stage we were still worried about Waddle’s ‘bubble wrap’ so it was decided that he should remain in the walled garden (which he can’t fly out of) until we were sure that he really was OK – which, of course, we now know that he is.

Waddlesworth’s freedom has now been restored to him but he seems to have decided that he is not so interested in this flying business and that life holds far too many interests right here at home. I open his gate every morning and herd him out into the big garden where he mucks about and flaps his wings a lot but still he refuses to fly. On the one hand we are delighted, as we all love that bird to bits (especially Sammy, who is ‘mummy’), but on the other hand he should be getting on with his life. Still – the option is there and the decision is his. He has made friends with Batelle (the new Fish Eagle) and spends hours watching her. He is also pals with ‘Shale’, the tortoise.

Oh not again
Oh not again!

i’m getting out of here
I’m getting out of here!

It is totally ridiculous watching Shale and Waddlesworth sunbathing in the morning. Shale parks himself in the sun and sticks all his limbs out of his shell, Waddles comes along and plonks down beside him and amuses himself by very gently trying to catch Shale’s head, which is smartly withdrawn into the shell, only to reappear a few seconds later. Shale will put up with this for a bit but then gets fed up and moves few inches further away so that his head is not actually reachable and then settles down again.

out of reach
Out of reach

Waddles then plays at trying to pick him up, which of course would be impossible. It really is the silliest thing to watch. Waddles’ beak is very gentle and he is not capable of doing any harm, except with the fish hook on the tip, which he doesn’t seem to use except for picking up his fish. The tortoise doesn’t seem to mind this treatment and is perfectly happy to settle down with Waddles – when he is not being a pest and trying to catch his head!

peace at last
Peace at last

The Little Owl Sanctuary: Batelle

by Sarah Higgins of The Little Owl Sanctuary

The Fish Eagle with the broken right wing that was brought in in July is recovering well. We have decided that she is probably a girl and have christened her ‘Batelle,’ because of her brave fight for survival. I have yet to hear her call – which would tell us for sure what gender she is (a male has a higher voice than the female) – but at least ‘Batelle’ or ‘Battle’ is a name that fits all! Of course, as so often happens, Batelle will no doubt shorten to Batty before too long!

Batelle is proving to be a gentle bird and is prepared to tolerate humans waiting on her hand and foot. Her wing stump, which had to be de-feathered for the operation to remove the damaged part of the wing, is beginning to sprout some nice new feathers, so her nights of a chilly wing stump are almost over. Her legs and feet, which were deeply lacerated when she arrived, have healed well and one of her two broken talons is beginning to grow back. Once she has gown back sufficient feathers to protect her wing stump we will think about introducing her to Bogoria (our other mono-winged Fish Eagle) and see if they would like to have the companionship of another bird, albeit of the same gender. I do hope that they’ll get on.

Batelle the Fish Eagle

Waddlesworth (the Pelican) spends quite a lot of his time beside Batelle’s cage and will often leave his last fish of the day by her cage door, so I oblige by popping it inside for her to enjoy – always a popular move.

The Little Owl Sanctuary: A New Fish Eagle Arrives

Guest post from Sarah Higgins of The Little Owl Sanctuary

Yesterday, July 25, a poor broken Fish Eagle was brought in. It had been found the previous evening trying desperately to fly and getting nowhere, so it was picked up, put in a cardboard box and brought round to me the following morning.

I checked it over and found a clean break up near the right shoulder but sadly it was a fairly old break and the three inches of exposed bone had the look of an old dog’s bone that had been buried for a week! The bird was underweight and desperately thirsty and had just about given up, although he was feisty enough when anyone approached him. I put him in a small compound and went to get some tape to immobilise the broken wing so that he didn’t keep tripping over it, and by the time I got back he was lying on the ground looking as if he really had had enough. In fact I wondered at that moment if he would make it, but as soon as I approached he threw himself on his back and threatened me with his talons (two of which are missing)!

I taped his bad wing to his body and showed him where the water was by splashing in the bowl. Once he had taken his eyes off my face long enough to glance at the source of the sound he fixed his gaze on the bowl. I quietly withdrew and left him to it and as soon as I shut the door he lolloped over to the bowl and drank and drank. Poor fellow, he must have been desperate.

new fish eagle little owl sanctuary
New Fish Eagle at Little Owl Sanctuary

I rang the Vet who told me to bring him in, so I popped him into a large cardboard box and set off. It is a hundred mile drive to get to the Vet but, for someone as desperate as this poor bird, it was worth the journey. The Vet, a delightfully calm and confidence-inspiring man, checked the bird over and weighed him – he was just 2 kg (a healthy male bird should be 2.5 kgs and a female up to a kilo more!). Sadly, having seen the obvious age of the injury and subsequent lack of blood supply to the bone, it was decided that the only thing to do was to remove the wing.

I brought the bird back home after the operation and by late evening he was awake and thirsty again. The Vet had suggested that I should only give him water with glucose for that evening, which he gulped down. He spent the night in the bathroom where he was warm and safe and I could keep an eye on him. He produced a couple of ‘poops’ in the night so at least that side of things was still working well which is always good news.

This morning we tried him on a small fish which he ate greedily. He had another for lunch and another two for supper. He is still rather miserable and unsure of all the things that are happening to him and around him, but at least he has stopped looking fierce and putting his one good wing out at me every time I approach and is now allowing me to come close and talk to him.

I am referring to him as a ‘he’ as I am really hoping that he is but am not entirely sure yet. Bogoria, our resident mono-winged lady Fish Eagle, would be delighted to have a male companion all of her own!

The Little Owl Sanctuary: Meet Waddlesworth

Here’s another great guest post from Sarah Higgins!

In April, on the shore of Lake Elmenteita, a young pelican waddled up to a weekend cottage and begged for food from the couple staying there. As you can imagine they were somewhat startled by this but they rushed to the fridge and dug out some tilapia fillets, which the little fellow gulped down greedily. They then herded him back to the lake shore. Next morning he was back again so they gave him some nice smoked salmon and herded him back to the lake but, as they turned to go back, so did the pelican! They couldn’t get rid of him and had to assume that something had happened to his parents and that he was otherwise starving to death. As they were only there for the long weekend they didn’t quite know what to do about the bird as they couldn’t exactly take him back to Nairobi. So they rang a friend who suggested that they should bring him to me!

‘Waddlesworth,’ as he became known, arrived in the back seat of a car all wrapped up in a kikoy, looking very miserable, underweight and covered in lice. We put him in a nice warm compound with a bucket of water and I raided a neighbour’s deep freeze for some fish for that day and sent out to the local fish market for a regular supply of fresh fish. We checked him over and he seemed to be unharmed although he did seem to carry his left wing closer to his body than the other one, but there was no sign of any injury. I did notice that he was sort of ‘crackly’ as if he had bubble-wrap under his skin but not knowing anything about pelicans I didn’t take much notice and assumed that is what a pelican should feel like.

Waddles in May 2009
Waddles in May, 2009

Waddlesworth soon got the hang of being hand-fed and I became ‘Mummy.’ As soon as he saw me with the white ‘fish’ pot he would rush up, bumping into me, flapping his wings, making his baby ‘feed-me’ noises and biting excitedly (but gently) at my legs, his own wings, bushes, anything, in a food ‘frenzy’ – which is exactly how a baby pelican should behave! I have not had any experience rearing a baby pelican and so out came the books. Waddlesworth did exactly what a wild pelican should do and at exactly the right time he started practicing his wing flaps. From then on we allowed him the run of the garden with its two acres of sloping lawn that has a ‘haha’ at the bottom and then acres of wildlife-filled vlei between us and the edge of our rapidly receding lake (we are in a drought situation at present), so he has plenty of room for a long takeoff and safe landing. He quickly settled into a routine: Mornings – bullying the dogs and playing in the bird bath! Afternoons – sleeping off his busy morning.

Waddles and Radar
Waddles and Radar

When he was old enough he put himself on a ‘flight diet’ to loose sufficient weight to be able to take off and then, a few days later, off he went on his maiden flight. He tried a steep turn but didn’t quite make it home and ended up in my neighbour’s hedge, being eyed up by their huge dogs. I galloped round, rescued him from the hedge and carried him home. As soon as I put him down he stomped off to his favourite snooze spot and slept for the rest of the day. Next day he set off again and again miscalculated and ended up in the neighbour’s garden. So I nipped round next door and herded him back home and once more he slept away the rest of the day. After that he seemed to give up all idea of flight and went back to his dog bullying and mucking about in the bird bath (I still haven’t been able to persuade him to float about on the pond, which doesn’t auger well for life on his own!). I had hoped that in the three weeks between his first flight and our intended overseas trip he would have become a good pilot and left home, but no such luck. After much discussion we decided that Waddles should remain in the walled garden beside the house whilst we were away so that he couldn’t get himself into trouble.

On our return we found him in good form but he had now transferred his affections to Sammy, who had taken over feeding duty, and didn’t recognise me any more (I confess to feeling just a tad miffed that he could be so fickle!). We had decided that we should tag Waddlesworth before he went off on his next adventure so when Simon suddenly appeared out of the blue he was asked to do the deed. Waddles now wears a smart yellow (number 56) wing tag. Whilst tagging him, Simon remarked on the odd bubble-wrap feel of the bird but, like me, was not sure if this was normal, but suspected that it might not be. So now I am trying to find someone who knows something about pelicans who might be able to tell us. The crackly ‘bubble-wrap’ is all over his body, even his wings! Can anyone shed some light on this?

Waddles july 2009
Waddlesworth, July 2009

Rosy’s News

Guest post by Sarah Higgins, who’s taking care of Rosy and Girl and many others. More to come!

There has not been an update on Rosy for a while as there was nothing new to report. Rosy’s sight still leaves a lot to be desired. Dr. Dan came to see him and measured his eyes in January and was able to report that the lenses are nearly perfect and that if everything were OK he should be able to see normally. But, and this is the big ‘but,’ although the fibrin has receded from his right eye he still can’t really see anything out of that eye. He can distinguish light and dark and some movement but will still try to fly through the wall if disturbed. It is assumed that there must have been some damage to the retina in that eye. The left eye was, at that time, filled yet again with the dreaded fibrin and there was discussion as to whether to operate for a third time. We all eventually agreed that we would not rush into this and would wait and see what happens.

rosy july 2009
Rosy in July, 2009

Girl at Navaisha, july 2009
Rosy’s Girl

Six months later it appears that the fibrin is beginning to recede. There is still a fair amount of it but it is definitely less and just perhaps Rosy can see a little round the outside of it. I’m excited about this and am now full of hope again, although I realise that whatever happens it will not happen instantly. Please keep sending your good thoughts to Rosy, he needs all the help he can get.

Up and Down Week for Rosy and His Team

From Sarah Higgins

This has been a week of ups and downs. Rosy had an operation on both of his eyes on Saturday the 11th and now we are back to putting drops in his eyes four times a day. He was a very much quieter bird for the first few days after the operation, which was hardly surprising, but there were definite signs that now he really can see something. Prior to the operation he was always ‘scanning’ or ‘reading’ (as I am told it is called) which indicated that he could see nothing, but that has stopped altogether since this latest op. Now he points his beak or left eye right at you when you talk to him. I don’t think that he can see too much yet, but part of that is because of the milky steroids that were injected into his eye.

On the 15th he started calling again and called four times that day and was answered twice by Girl who was perched on the branch within her ‘palace’ that overlooks where Rosy spends his days. BUT the same day that Rosy started calling I could see the dreaded fibrin again, poking its way through Rosy’s newly opened right pupil. My heart dropped down to my boots and I sent of a picture of the eye to Doctor Dan. He too was disappointed but not despondent.

rosy october 15
Rosy on October 15

The next day when I went to see Rosy I had my camera slung round my neck. I approached him from the left and as I bent forward to greet him the camera swung forward towards him and he nearly jumped out of his feathers. There is absolutely no doubt that he saw something coming at him although he probably couldn’t make out what it was. Despite this, when I looked into his left eye this too was showing signs of the fibrin beginning to fill up behind the pupil, although not nearly as severely as was happening in the right eye. Yet another photo was sent to Doctor Dan who again was not despondent and assured me that the steroids that he injected into the eye should eventually clear everything up. He said that Rosy’s eyes were reacting exactly like a human baby’s eyes do and that things really should start to look better soon.

Because the news was basically depressing I was reluctant to write up my Rosy Report. But today it looks as if the fibrin is beginning to retreat from his right eye and so things are definitely looking rosier. The big boy still chats to me in his silly little un-eagle-like voice when I spend time with him but that same voice is also regularly raised to its full volume as he claims his territory and makes absolutely sure that no one is going to trespass on HIS patch or try to steal his Girl.

rosy october 18
Rosy on October 18

Please keep sending your good thoughts to Rosy as I am sure that it all helps in the healing process and we do so want him to be able to see again and be able to go back to his lonely Girl.

Rosy Getting More Comfortable In New Home

From Sarah Higgins:

Unfortunately I didn’t know Rosy before his operation so can’t be sure that what I am saying is fact, but I am getting the impression that Rosy is feeling perkier. In my discussions with him (he is a great talker) he is getting louder in his responses and appears to be feeling happier particularly since, on doctor’s orders, we reduced the amount of drops being put in his eyes. Certainly he is calling more often. Yesterday he called at 10 a.m. and again at lunch time and today he has called four times already and it is not yet midday! It is an intriguing call, rather like a giant hacksaw through metal (you can tell I live on a farm!). This may also be because the short rains seem to be upon us at last and this morning has been overcast with that ‘it’s gonna really rain today’ feel to it. Everyone and everything in Africa always feels happier in the wet weather. There is a general feeling of optimism and recharge as the grass grows, the flowers bloom, crops are sown and nests are built.

Mwanzia and Rosy

Rosy’s eyes are clearing although his pupils are still ‘stuck’ and he is still totally blind. Nobody has given up hope though. There was always the possibility that the retina could have been damaged with the pressure build up after the operation or even that there was an underlying condition that was hidden by the cataracts. Those that know all say don’t worry, give it time. So time and lots of prayers from a lot of caring people are what we are giving.

rosy’s eyes on september 4 2008

I ‘parrot-sit’ when my neighbours are away. Jo (an African Grey Parrot) was rescued as a little wild defeathered baby from an illegal bird exporter. She was lucky as very few of that consignment survived and luckier still in finding Peter, my neighbour, to take her on, as he and his wife Jane adore her and give her an interesting and varied life. She is now 40 years old and one of the happiest birds I know (also one of the bossiest!) and I love being allowed to look after her when her ‘folks’ are away. Having said that – I was a little concerned that she might have been worried by Rosy’s call (they are both birds of the forest), but not a bit of it, she continued cracking sunflower seeds and paid not the least bit of attention!