Belize Bird Rescue is a wildlife rehabilitation center as well as a sanctuary. Currently Nikki has 60 birds on the property (not including the 30ish guinea fowl, the 100+ muscovy ducks and the one lone goose). Most of them are parrots. Parrot rehabilitation is a very long process – usually the birds come to Nikki with very poor feather condition from being improperly housed or they come in imprinted. If they are pretty wild because they were never handled but their feathers are trashed, Nikki holds them until they molt and grow in new feathers. If they are imprinted – that’s a different story. Some can return back to their wild temperament by being put with others, but others just enjoy (or hate) people too much to ever really be released. Some of these birds have become “house birds” – they are allowed to be free all day and roam the property coming back to the house to eat, sleep,or just to get out of the heat. These are the birds that Rachel and I spend every day with – they all have their unique personalities and are quite amazing to be around.
Besides confiscated or relinquished “pet” parrots, Nikki also takes in any injured or orphaned wild birds. Currently we have the bare-throated tiger heron, who is slated to be released this weekend, the gray headed kite, the white hawk, 3 barn owls, a common nighthawk, and new today, a Central-American pygmy owl. The difference between working with these birds and the parrots is huge – they have different needs, from food to housing to enrichment. I must say, it has been a very interesting experience having to catch the food to feed our birds. The men who work on Nikki’s property catch and kill rats for us almost every day, they also get live fish out of her pond. To supplement all the meat-eaters we have also been chopping up chicken with bones (for the barn owl babies) and offering beef strips to the adult hawks.
Nikki also has 4 very lovely dogs who keep us company. They are also free to roam and just about every other day they take off at dawn and stagger home late afternoon/evening. We aren’t sure where they go or what they do – but they always sleep well the next day. They walk out with us every evening to check on the ducks and happily play in the lawn on the way back. They are sweethearts.
Nikki returns on Sunday – I can’t believe how fast this month has gone by! Her daughter is getting married next Saturday so Rachel and I will be on our own again for a couple of days next week. Matt and Devin arrive on the 14th which will mark the beginning of our vacation! 🙂 We are planning on seeing Mayan ruins, going to the Cayes, caves, waterfalls – it will be amazing!