Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lesser double collared sunbird distress.

This is my hand leaning out of the dining room window in Constantia. My mom had called me to say that a sunbird had become trapped between the sash windows, where the up meets the down and makes a glassy crevasse, unfathomable to a bird trying to escape the clear prison. The sunbirds seem attracted to their reflections in the windows, fly in, and become stuck on their way out.

Enter the humans.

This bird (now in my mom's hand) was dazed and shocked and we wanted to remove him as gently as possible to the garden. I forget which of us carried him from the other's hand and put him gently beside the bird bath, but I do remember dripping a drop of sugared water into his beak before we moved from the window.

In the cool of the garden, near the honeysuckle, he perked up, and flew away.

Vince and I had breakfast every morning on the brick patio under a striped awning against the hot sun. Jasmine, roses, aloes, succulents and fuchsias share the collection of pots. All of these provide the sunbirds with nectar or miniature insects, which the small birds also feed on. A feeder nearby attracts them too, and sometimes butterflies, and it was a delight to sit and sip coffee and watch the delicate aerial shows put on by the pretty birds.

I miss their distinctive high voices singing rapid arpeggios, and their un-shy habit of darting to the ruby-flowered fuchsia at the end of the dining table, to hang upside down and drink from its tiny cup.


  1. Donatella con uccelliniApril 17, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    I enjoyed the picture and the post. A few years ago, I had a drunken Cedar Waxwing crash into my glass door. The berries here ferment in the heat and the birds are all intoxicated. Anyway, I put a box over him to protect him until he sobered up and flew away.

  2. Hi Marie, love your blog, very inspiring. If you are in SA come to Stellenbosch and visit the Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens, to find the entrance look for the big bronze statue of two buffalo.I think you will enjoy it!


  3. Hello Marie
    Not so long ago I had a similar experience with a young Lesser Double Collared Sunbird, only sadly I did not find him in time and he was already dead, a bundle of browny/grey soft, inert feathers splashed with green and red. So sad.
    On a happier note, today when I came home from a walk, I found an African Goshawk sitting on the edge of my fishpond under the camphor tree. A fully grown bird, he/she sat there for about 10 minutes, looking from left to right, before turnning round and jumping into the pond. No idea why he would do this, but I must say I feared for my last remaining goldfish's life. However, he did not catch it (if indeed he ever intended to) and emerged with wet underfeathers and shortly after that flew off.
    Deryck took photos, but they are not yet downloaded.

  4. Hi is so sweet, with those tiny colored feathers on his chest. I'm glad he made it.

  5. I like the successful rescues.
    The sunbirds here are bright canary yellow,the male sporting an iridescent blue 'jabot.'But they have the same happy, cheeky antics.

    (And thankyou for using sugar water, not honey, which is not the best thing for birds.)

  6. my parents have those in their garden all the time... I do miss them. The hoepoe. The hadeda (that annoys everyone else)... all of them. So glad this one got away!


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