Wildlife Stories

Read trip reports, stories and experiences from the field.
  1. Hi everyone, hope you all are doing well. This piece of writing, no matter how fictitious it may sound is a true success story of a very strong and determined little bird and how it pulled itself through to survive a terrible injury.

    It all began in early December, we were doing our annual Christmas decorating as is customary in Trinidad and Tobago, and noticed a pair of Bananaquits were arriving at our front door every half an hour throughout the day but we paid little attention to this as we were busy assembling our Christmas Tree and adorning it with shiny ornaments. About a week after, my mother showed me a small nest on our wreath which was on our front door. Every so often when I went outside, I would see the same pair of Bananaquits mating and then retreating to the nest to hide from me.

    Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola ssp. luteola) A Bananaquit on a branch, singing. This photo was taken on a cloudy day in our dry season here in Trinidad and Tobago, a season where there is now regular rainfall...a true anecdotal lesson on climate change.<br />
Below is a post in which this bird had an important part to play:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/forum/27/wildlife_stories/899/the_triumph_of_the_bananaquit.html Animalia,Animals,Aves,Bananaquit,Birds,Caribbean,Coereba flaveola,Coereba flaveola luteola,Trinidad and Tobago

    One of the Bananaquits singing.

    Three weeks had past, it was the first week of the new year, and my parents and I began hearing a faint chirping sound at the front door, and so we assumed that there was a baby bird in the nest. I wanted a photo of the baby Bananaquit without obstructing the nest, or interfering with it in any way, and so I placed a chair about two metres from the nest and stood on it, using my telephoto lens to get a small peek inside. To my surprise, there was not a baby bird in the nest. There were three!

    Later on in January, at nearly the end of the month, the three juveniles exited the nest, taking their leap of faith into the real world, a bit like a child's first day of school. Two of the Bananaquits hopped their way up our mango tree, where they were safe and sound, well...relatively safe at least, while the third Bananaquit jumped towards our Ixora plants, after which he was attacked. The assailant was none other than the Giant Ameiva, which bit the Bananaquit on it's back, causing a large cut at the back of the wing and what seemed to be an injured neck.

    Trinidad Ameiva/Giant Ameiva (Ameiva atrigularis) A Trinidad Ameiva, also commonly called the Giant Ameiva, Jungle Runner and Zandolie (locally). This lizard was resting after foraging for food in the 32 degree Caribbean sunshine.  Ameiva ameiva,Ameiva atrigularis,Animalia,Animals,Caribbean,Giant ameiva,Reptiles,Reptilia,Trinidad Ameiva,Trinidad and Tobago

    The Giant Ameiva, the species which bit the juvenile Bananaquit.

    Upon witnessing this scene, my parents and I rushed out to ward off the reptile, which we did successfully, after which, my father proceeded to pick up the injured Bananaquit and return it to the safety of the nest, so that it would be easily found by it's parents. The coming days were filled with caring for this young and injured bird in an attempt to nurse it back to health. While I say this here, in reality I barely aided in the rehabilitation of this bird as it was the beginning of my second semester and I had a large workload, so my parents were the ones actively caring for the bird.

    During the course of the next three days, the parent Bananaquits would feed their injured young frequently, and one of us would return the juvenile to the nest each time it hopped out, which was a real test of patience at times as the little bird was quite fond of hide and seek, even at night. Each time we looked at the young, innocent Bananaquit, we would always wonder if it would survive. After each passing day, there would always be signs of improvements, as it grew in size, it's vocalisations were more frequent and it flapped it's wings more.

    Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola ssp. luteola) A Bananaquit perched on a mango tree. The subspecies luteola is endemic to Trinidad and Tobago.<br />
To read more about this Bananaquit, click the link below:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/forum/27/wildlife_stories/899/the_triumph_of_the_bananaquit.html Animalia,Animals,Aves,Bananaquit,Birds,Caribbean,Coereba flaveola,Trinidad and Tobago

    One of the parent Bananaquits after feeding the injured juvenile.

    On the fourth day, as I walked outside and looked for the juvenile Bananaquit, it was nowhere to be found. I searched practically everywhere and could not find it, which made me wonder if it could have been eaten by a bird of prey, or even one of the resident stray cats. While I was overthinking the situation, I heard a Bananaquit call from above, which I assume was one of the parent Bananaquits, or even one of the other juveniles. After looking up for about five minutes, I spotted the source of the sound. There it was. Which one? You guessed it, the injured juvenile! It was at the top of the tree and was flying from branch to branch and even started developing its characteristic yellow colour.

    After seeing that sight, I did what anyone else in my position would do...I went for my camera of course! I clicked a number of photos while the recovering Bananaquit flew across various branches and even came very close to me. It was a proud moment for me and my parents, as we witnessed the miraculous recovery of a wonderful, cheery little bird. During this period I also spent a lot of time around these Bananaquits, to the point that they would fly all around the area and remain calm in my presence, which was truly breathtaking to witness as they were always graceful and calculated, despite their frantic and agile nature.

    Juvenile Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola ssp. luteola) A juvenile Bananaquit in our mango tree. There is a bit of a sentimental story attached to this photo which will be way too long for me to write here, so I'll post it on the forum:)<br />
To read the story of this juvenile, visit the link below:<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/forum/27/wildlife_stories/899/the_triumph_of_the_bananaquit.html Animalia,Animals,Aves,Bananaquit,Birds,Caribbean,Coereba flaveola,Coereba flaveola luteola,Trinidad and Tobago

    The recovered juvenile Bananaquit.

    When looking back at this situation, there are certainly things I would do differently, such as calling the nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre, where the injured Bananaquit would have been able to get treatment by professionals, as well as a proper diagnosis. In addition to this, I should have filmed this Bananaquit family, showing their feeding, nesting and behaviour, which would have made for a great watch and may have possibly been educational and informative, but overall, I was and will always be grateful for the luxury of having had a peek into the lives of the Bananaquits.
    Replied 2 months ago, modified 2 months ago
  2. You're such a wonderful storyteller, Wesley. I highly recommend you link back to this forum post from the relevant photos, that way more people may see it.

    As for the story, it's a beautiful tale of resilience. When you spend a lot of time around the same animal, you learn so much more about their challenging lives. I'm sure you'll get the opportunity to see so much more, can't wait :)
    Replied 2 months ago
  3. Thanks Ferdy! And thank you for that suggestion, I certainly will do! Replied 2 months ago
  4. This is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing this story. I truly enjoyed reading it <3. Replied 2 months ago
  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it Christine! Replied 2 months ago

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