I didn’t see that as a wise choice. This is a small bird. Some of our neighbors love to let their dogs roaming around the neighborhood freely. There are some stray cats wandering around too. I’m suppose that would give you the insight of how the rest of that scenario will go. So, no. I couldn’t do that. This is especially when one of its wings cannot function. Eventually, I’ve gotten my sister to help me out since she’s better with handling unfamiliar small (and weird) animals than I do. (I prefer larger animals btw.) Since she has another small cage lying around, we used that to keep it in temporarily, especially when we’re not around to supervise it.
🌉 Fun fact
: “Male kingfishers and female kingfishers are almost identical except for an orange
coloration with a black tip on the lower part of the females beak/mandibles. Young kingfishers are similar to the adults in appearance, however, they have duller and greener upper-parts, paler underparts, black beak and initially, black legs.”
Symbolism of Kingfishers 🔮
“A kingfisher, said to be the first bird to fly from Noah’s ark after the deluge, supposedly received the orange of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the sky on its back. It was considered a symbol of peace, promising prosperity and love.” (Colton, 2017)
“Also known as the Halycon, the Kingfisher is a long-time symbol of peace and prosperity. It has many legends and superstitions surrounding it with many originating in ancient Greece…. It is said the Kingfisher is the promise of abundance, of new warmth, prosperity and love that is about to unfold within your life. ” (James, 2007)
“The kingfisher is a bold bird that fishes for its living. … Its ability to draw life out of the waters to feed itself reflects the kingfisher’s ability to stimulate new opportunities for prosperity. Often it requires that you dive headlong into some activity, but it usually proves to be very beneficial. If the kingfisher has come to you, prepare to dive into something new. Have you been avoiding the new? Have you been afraid to take the plunge? Are you needing new warmth? Don’t worry if a kingfisher is around, you won’t drown. You will have more sunshine unfolding in your life.” (Andrews, 1993
After some suggestions from my family, I’ve made up my mind to either wait til she recovers and then set her free, or we send her to KL Bird Park, whichever comes first of course. I have difficult timing and schedule since it’s Raya Holiday Season and I have a test on Monday (18th June 2018) which I really have to study but I found myself investing more time on this bird than I should.
|An Instastory from my Instagram account.
So yeah, I fed her with more fishies and watched her doing her thing. She wouldn’t eat anything on the first day but when I presented her with some freshly-caught fish, she ate them all. The second round I gave her a couple of fish again and she nom-ed everything right in front of my eyes. The third time I gave her 4 tiny fishes because I thought I might be overfeeding her a little bit. It’s hunting skills is still alright. Quite a few misses but hey the fishies are quick at escaping haha.
Little birb can be clumsy sometimes. She falls into the bowl by accident and I have to bring her back up to dry her up a bit with a cloth.
🌉 Fun fact: “Kingfishers have very keen eyesight. The kingfisher has monocular vision (in which each eye is used separately) in the air and binocular vision (in which both eyes are used together) in water. The underwater vision is not as a sharp as in the air, however, the ability to judge the distance of moving prey is more important than the sharpness of the image.”
Since I had a lot of time with this little birdie and I’m not supposed to “confine” her all the time, I took her out of the cage whenever I’m around and let her roam around. Took the opportunities to take pictures and videos of her too. I could only let her roam around indoors since all of my dogs are outside. Not safe eh. She would also crawl to tiny spaces and I will have tough time to bring her out. Besides, there are dogs outside.
|An Instastory from my Instagram account. Don’t worry. Cameras and phones are not stressing her out.
I made sure that my hands are clean before handling her. I don’t want little birb to get sicker. Of course, I’ll wash and spray rubbing alcohol to my hands after every interaction with this birdie. Don’t wanna get sick for my final paper too.
Most of the time, this little birdie would just… sleep. She sleeps all the time. Not leaving out any opportunities that she can get. I find it very intriguing to watch her sleep, to be honest. Sometimes she yawns in her sleep and sometimes she moved her beaks as though she was ‘murmuring’ something. Surprisingly, she’s not the type to be chatty. I’ve never heard any sound from her just yet but oh boy, I’ve definitely cleaned more poop than I’ve expected.
🌉 Fun fact: “The Common Kingfisher has no particular song, however, they vocalize using a shrill ‘tsee’ or ‘tsee-the’ call. Their flight call is a short sharp whistle, cheese, repeated two or three times. Anxious birds emit a harsh, shrit-it-it and nestlings call for food with a churring noise.”
🌌 Sleep Gallery 🌠
She really does sleep most of the time!
Mythology with Kingfishers 📜
In Greek mythology Alcyone, daughter of Aeolus (king of the winds), found her husband drowned and cast herself into the sea. The gods rewarded her devotion by turning her into a kingfisher, and Aeolus forbade the winds to blow during the “Halcyon Days” (the seven days before and the seven after the winter solstice, when legend has it that the kingfisher lays its eggs).
Kingfishers are associated with Pallas (one of the Titans, a race of godlike giants who were considered to be the personifications of the forces of nature), Hera (the queen of the Olympian deities, the eldest daughter of Cronus and Rhea, and wife and sister of Zeus), and Thetis, one of the Nereids, the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris who dwell in the Mediterranean Sea. These beautiful women were always friendly and helpful towards sailors fighting perilous storms. The Kingfishers are beloved by sea-nymphs (in Greek mythology, nymphs are spirits of nature, and they are minor female deities and the protectors of springs, mountains, and rivers). (James, 2007
3rd Day 🌓
16th June 2018
I didn’t really have any thoughts that this species is considered as a “Totally Protected Wildlife Bird” until I’ve stumbled across a western article stated that it is illegal to own this bird. Before that, I was completely oblivious about wildlife bird protection and I’ve never even thought that I’ll see a Kingfisher in Malaysia. I’ve only figured this out around evening, which was kinda late to make calls for confirmation and assistance. Of course I’ve panicked. I didn’t wanna be falsely accused for owning this birbb and get penalized by that, especially when I have no knowledge about birds at all. I don’t even know the names of the majority common birds beside crows, swans, pigeons and geese. (CHICKEN, on the other hand, I don’t really see it as a “bird” bird. Its a ‘food’ bird, in my opinion.) It would be terrible to be punished just for doing good. So yeah. I gotta say, I really have no knowledge with birds and regulations. I suppose I’m doing better than most people already because I’d take the initiative to google it a little bit deeper.
Anyway, I’ve first inquired KL Bird Park through their Facebook Private Messenger but they didn’t reply quick enough so I called them through their hotline instead. Someone picked it up immediately and told me that the public is not supposed to send in birds to them. Instead, they should send it to PERHILITAN (Jabatan Perlindungan Hidupan Liar dan Taman Negara Semenanjung Malaysia) aka Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (DWNP). At 5:29pm, I attempted to call the department for 11 times but no one picked it up (National Hotline straight up end my call whilst the Cheras department is constantly “busy”). [Call logs available at section “17th June 2018”]
Because of that, I went back to KL Bird Park (KLBP) , who had replied me after I tried to call DWNP/PERHILITAN, and they told me to just send it in on Monday because it is Raya Holiday Season. You see, it’s a bit tricky because DWNP/PERHILITANhotline is supposed to be available from 8am-6am everyday, including public holiday. Well, since there’s nothing much that KLBP can do, I ended the conversation with an okay.
Before I ended the day, I put up a quick update to my friends on Instagram to let them know what happened. One of my friend laughed at how much I tried to put disclaimers around hahaha. I mean, I’m trying to be safe here, just in case any trolls would really make that kind of prank. It’s not fun nor is it funny to pull such a troll, IMO. So yeah, I’m not taking any chances to let that happen.
|An Instastory from my Instagram account.
🌜 Observing Little Birb 🌛
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea how birds behave so these are based on my observations and experiences with different animals I’ve encountered so far. You’d prolly ask why I wouldn’t google their behavior. Well I’m gonna sound bitter here but do you need me to remind you that my final paper is 2 days after encountering this bird? I desperately need more time to study but I also can’t neglect this little birbb. At the same time, I can’t keep this bird any longer than Monday or Tuesday. On the other hand, I found myself constantly getting distracted by her. The struggles are real. The responsibilities are much struggles. The distractions are not responsibilities. I’m talking jibberish.
Anyway, because of how calm she behaved, I took the opportunity to snap pictures with her while I gave her a minor check-up to see if there are any outer injuries. I couldn’t see any bleeding and she didn’t excrete blood so I suppose it’s not exactly an internal injury. From the picture below, you might be able to tell that the left wing is a bit off.
I’ve checked the right wing and it’s functioning fine. Seems like most of the feathers here don’t show bad signs, which is a good thing. Btw, little birb doesn’t like to be held within covered palms. She preferred to be standing on something, mostly things that she can grip on. (Flat surfaces are no-no’s)
Her claws have a decent strength at gripping. Sometimes she wobbles a little bit but it’s still fine. She’s not really good at jumping tho. May have to address that to the DWNP.
The left wing has a bit of wiry(?) feathers which may be the location of injury. I can’t tell since there’s no sign of blood. In the meantime, let us appreciate what mother nature had painted on this beautiful birbb. That gradient is real tho.
Little birb had been really calm after getting more familiar with me and understood that I meant no harm. She falls asleep in my palm, on my finger and even my shoulders. When I first met her, she was aggressive because she was scared. She has a quick bite and that’s why I was so wimpy. After getting “bitten” for a couple of times, I realized that the bites don’t actually hurt and I’ve learned how to handle her from closer distance. She let me hold her once she had trusted me.
A friend of mine commented that “it’s official, you are a Disney Princess.” in my Facebook post hahaha. Welp, this is my attempt to be a Disney Princess, though little birbb had never actually felt like speaking to me. I believe this breed isn’t the kind to be chatty anyway.
🗼 You can listen to the sounds of Common Kingfishers here.
Here’s one on the shoulder too. Notice that she would be willing to sit on my shoulder rather than attempting to fly around the house. I felt like I’ve gained a little trust from this little one. (Btw, birds don’t control their poop so yeah she pooped on my shirt but that’s alright, I’m fine with it haha haha)
Here’s a close one with her. Just a little proof that little birb is unfazed by closer distance with human and cameras once she gets familiar with them. Although, the initial attempt for everyone else to tryna get closer to her would make her move further away. Eventually that was not the case anymore.
By the way, did you know that Kingfisher has a very adorable way to court mates?
🌉 Fun fact
: “Kingfisher courtship occurs in spring. The male will approach the female with a fish in his beak. He will hold it so that the head of the fish is facing outwards and attempt to feed it to the female. If he is unsuccessful he will simply eat the fish himself. He may have to repeat this feeding behaviour for some time before mating occurs.”
So that’s all for the close-up time with little birb! Let’s move on to the next day!
I woke up later than I planned to (4am) and dashed down to check on the bird. She’s still alright. Fed her with some and checked on her appetite. Little birb is still eating fast and well.
I tried to call DWNP/PERHILITAN to see if I can drop the little one at their office before going to my lunch appointment in Damansara Uptown. I thought about asking my dad to do a little detour for that. But again, no one is picking up the calls from the office. Really not sure what they’re doing at the moment. Maybe they’re really having a holiday. However, I don’t see announcement regarding to the Cheras department’s operating hours and off-days tho..
Anyway here’s a set of call logs for you to look at. [Screenshot time is at 12pm, 17th June.] Left to right: DWNP hotline, DWNP Cheras department and KL Bird Park hotline.
I made a late discovery that they’re closed on weekends. But then their website said that the hotline should be available on weekends AND public holidays… Hmmm.. I wonder what is the truth.
They didn’t state their operating hours in their website too….
From their first page, I couldn’t find any announcement about their off days for Hari Raya. I found a notice about the ecotourism sites’ operating hours instead.
Oh man, at this point I’m just really, really tired. I’ve tried to do so many things and yet nothing is going my way.
4 p.m. onwards
I fed the little birb again and this time she’s much more calmer than before. She fell asleep right after she was fed, just like usual time. I began to speculate that kingfishers may be appearing in the nearby lake and mini forest. This is further supported by my dad’s witnessing an adult one stealing his fish. He’s a fish-lover, you see.
“People who loves to have fish as pets like me are always afraid of this particular bird to steal our fish,” my dad chuckled.
Anyway, I suspect that she got injured because there’s one house close-by mine that had been utterly disturbing with their ground slamming machines. They wanted to renovate the building so there were a lot of slamming and drilling. This may have caused a havoc towards the crows too, which may have resulted in attacking this poor little bby. It’s either that or she got hit by something while she was flying around. I assume that it happened when she wandered too far from her nest and wanted to grab a quick snack around our neighborhood.
🌉 Fun fact
: “The Kingfisher bird bobs its head when food is detected to gauge the distance and plunges steeply down to grab its prey usually no deeper than 25 centimetres (19 inches) below the surface of the water.
The wings are opened under water and the open eyes are protected by the transparent third eyelid. The bird rises beak-first from the surface and flies back to its perch. At the perch the fish is adjusted until it is held near its tail and beaten against the perch several times. Once dead, the fish is swallowed head-first. A few times each day, a small grayish pellet of fish bones and other indigestible remains is regurgitated.”
I woke up at 3am to get ready for going to university campus. My last paper is today, you see. There are certain facilities in our campus that will be open for up to 24/7 during exam period so I normally reach campus at around 4:30 am to 5 am. Since it was raining heavily, I thought that I should have waited the rain to subside a little before departing my place. I’ve got some Kek Lapis (Layered Cake) in a box and placed all my belongings on the sofa. Little birb was sleeping with her beak over her wing. I went to check her out and she was still alright. Probably just more sleepier than other hours. I gave her a tiny pet on her head and headed out.
Instastories from my Instagram account.
I figured that my sister was available at home the entire day so I texted her to feed the bird at around 9 am and 4pm since I couldn’t do it as I am away from home to take the potentially final exam paper of my university life. She sent me a text but deleted it before I got to read it.
8 a.m. onwards
I was struggling real bad at memorizing my exam materials. I slept at 1 a.m. and woke up at 3 a.m.. Not a great thing to do and it had definitely made me even more exhausted than usual. Every once in a while I would get excited for thinking bout sending lil birb to the wildlife department. I wanted her to get well, you see. Before I could dwell longer, I smacked myself (mentally) to regain focus for my exam.
I managed to finish my exam a little earlier than the end time but was kinda hungry so I went to a restaurant. At 4:39 pm, I’ve tried to make 3 phone calls to DWNP/PERHILITAN (once for the hotline, twice for the Cheras number). Its the same again, i.e.: no one picked up the phone calls. By the time I’ve finished eating and resting, it was already almost 5 pm. At that moment, I felt bad for having to delay sending lil birb in for another day but I had no choice since there wasn’t any way to tell if the DWNP/PERHILITAN is open today. They have been closed for 4 days since Friday (15th June). I suppose some places would still take Monday (18th June) as their Raya holiday so I’m not surprised if they’re still off for today. I thought about trying to call again the next day or just go right to the DWNP/PERHILITAN Cheras department to send her in since I’m finally free from university life and I still had some free time before resuming back to my part time job. That was what I had planned to do.
I came home to find the table that holds little birb’s cage was outside. The cage was not seen anywhere so I thought my mom wanted to wash the table and placed the cage somewhere else. “Where is the bird?” I called out. No one answered me.
I noticed that someone was at the second floor, so I yelled (nicely): “who’s on the second floor?” My mom responded. I asked her where did the bird go and she broke the news to me. I thought it was a prank but my little sister walked out of her room with a worried and frowning smile, trying to lighten the mood up. “She’s really gone,” my little sister said. “We didn’t wanna tell you because you were going to take a test,” my mom added.
|An Instastory from my Instagram account.
My mom took a couple of pictures and videos to show me. She knew I wanted to see what happened. After hearing what she had told me, my heart was broken. She told me that little birbb had fainted and struggled to stand up. She was still breathing before exhaling her very last breath.
|An Instastory from my Instagram account.
8 p.m. onwards
I couldn’t help myself to look over to the place where the cage used to be whenever I walk pass. The realization afterwards hit me like a cooking pan into the skull. I still cannot understand what happened. I’ve even googled and found this website talking about signs of sickness in birds. Tori had no issues with staying awake and feeding itself with her own hunting skill. She can stand on her feet when sleeping. She didn’t bleed anywhere nor did she excreted blood. She slept soundly at night without any noise disruption. Perhaps… perhaps it was a virus. I don’t know…
It is true that I am still in disbelief. That’s because I hoped to see her fly one day. But she left. Just like that. It’s difficult to not feel any sadness. I don’t see Tori as my pet but a part of me hoped to see her again one day and
I know that the day will never come.
🌉 Sad fact: “The early days for the young kingfishers are the most dangerous. About four days after leaving the nests, the fledglings will take their first dives into the water to find prey. Unfortunately, those who will not have learned how to fish by this time may become waterlogged and drown. About only half survive more than a week or two.
Very few birds live longer than one breeding season. The oldest kingfisher on record was 21 years of age.”
Feel free to ask me questions. I’ll do my best to answer you. Please avoid asking me questions anonymously as I cannot privately respond back to you. By the way, I have no obligations to answer every single question, which means I can ignore your question(s) whenever it is inappropriate. It’s usually because your question has an obvious answer or that your attitude/intention is upsetting. I don’t have the patience to deal with that. Hence, pardon me if you have yet to receive a reply.
🍃 Question 1: What should I do when I encounter an injured bird?
Approach the bird slowly and observe if it is very aggressive. If not, use a cloth and wrap it around the bird before carrying it up. If the bird still can use its feet, it will attempt to run away from you. If it is very aggressive, use a pair of gloves and a cloth to life the bird up.
According to Powell
(2017), “try to direct an injured bird into a confined area, then drop a large towel or blanket over it. Use a blanket to hold the bird’s wings to its side and keep its head covered. Remember some birds have sharp claws or powerful beaks and can peck or scratch people. An injured bird needs to be kept warm in a dark and quiet environment. Place it in a box, with a towel at the bottom. Ensure there are holes for airflow and the box can be securely closed. Don’t feed or handle the bird.” (At least not for the moment)
“By not causing the bird further stress, you will be giving it the best chance to recover and fly free again.”
You can put it into a cage temporarily, just make sure that the cage is big enough for the bird to move around. Place the cage at somewhere that is cooling but warm enough for the bird. Don’t place it directly under sunlight since it will worsen its health. If it calms down and allow you to handle it, check to see if there are any injuries around. Any signs of bleeding should be addressed seriously. Give it some water in a bowl and move on with the next step.
Alternately, you can check out HollyMan‘s
method of handling an injured bird.
Google is an amazing tool to figure out which breed it is. Describe the bird’s special features with key terms like the shape and size of the beak, feather colour and etc, to find out what breed it could potentially be. You can also ask your friends or even approach KL Bird Park staffs to help you figure out what breed it is. Once you get an idea of what kind of bird it is, search up what the bird eats. This only applies if you can’t send the bird to the wildlife department immediate. The reason for this is to keep the bird alive. Some birds eat seeds but some eat bugs, insects, lizard, frogs and/or fish. You can attempt to feed them every 3-5 hours or more, depending on their size and appetite. Always wash your hands after handling the bird!
3. Check the law to see if it is a protected wildlife
If you’re residing in Malaysia, you can check these documents from UNODC
. They are all essentially the same but I find that they have different printing layout so follow whichever you find comfortable reading with. For Peninsular Malaysia, protected species are those listed under First and Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 [Act 716] and species listed under Third Schedule of the International Trade In Endangered Species Act 2008 [Act 686]. Do note that if the bird is under protection, you are not allowed to sell it or own it, at least without license, as it is illegal. Wildlife regulations in Malaysia are pretty strict and the licenses are available around RM3-RM20 depending on the breed or animal. Learn more about wildlife via DWNP/PERHILITAN here
Here’s a comprehensive list of to-do and to-notice for short-term wildlife casualty management under the title called Feeding of Casualty Miscellaneous Birds (Kingfishers, Cuckoos, Woodpeckers, Wrynecks) from Wildpro
, a UK based. Only applicable when the bird you’ve rescued are those four.
4. Call the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP/PERHILITAN) for guidance.
You can call their hotline: 1800 88 5151. Operation hours is at 8am til 6pm everyday, including Public Holiday. Though my experience tells me that it is subjected to staff availability. In that case, you can contact any DWNP/PERHILITAN branches closer to you and their HQ is at Cheras (03-90866800). If they need you to turn in the bird, do as they ask. If otherwise, you can either bring the bird to a vet and keep it after curing it or turn in the bird for DWNP/PERHILITAN to take care.
If you’re residing in another country, google any wildlife rehabilitation centers or contact your local bird park / animal park to inquire where to send the bird to. Different countries, even different states, may have different departments and institutions available.
🍃 Question 2: How come you didn’t ask your family members to send-in the bird for you?
Honestly, I really thought about it but throughout the entire time, I was the only person that had been taking care of the bird. That being said, it would make more sense for me to send it in because I can explain to the officers about how I found it and how I took care of it. I believe that by doing so, it would help the officers to understand more about this particular bird and they’ll be able to take care of it more efficiently. But anyway, they still couldn’t send the bird in especially when the place is closed.
🍃 Question 3: Why didn’t you send it to a vet?
Not every vet knows how to take care of birds and even if they do, usually they don’t do charity. Besides, vets these days hike up their prices like there’s no tomorrow. I’m still a student, so I can’t manage if they bill me with a sky-high amount. Most vets would take holiday leaves too, even the veterinary physician in KLBP is having Raya holiday (at least this is what the lady on the phone told me about). Tak jadi je (It’s not possible to send it in.)
🍃 Question 4: Why didn’t you try other wildlife departments?
Honestly, I had too much on my mind throughout the entire time. I had to focus on my exam whilst trying to help this little bird without getting myself in trouble. It was tough. Since KLBP only mentioned DWNP/PERHILITAN, I followed the instructions. Again, I’ve said that I’m not experienced in taking care of birds. I wanted to help. I tried my best. I’m only taking care of one at that moment because it was injured, KLBP refused to take it in and DWNP/PERHILITAN took their Raya holiday all together at once.
Like I said, I’m really tired. I have no words to describe how heartbroken I am. I felt helpless. It was a little bird and I couldn’t even save it. The timing for everything was off.
🍃 Question 5: Do you have a license to take care of a protected bird?
Obviously not. Based on what I’ve written above, it should be obvious enough that I am not experienced in the bird-field. That’s why I was in such a hurry to send her to a rehabilitation center but the one KLBP had instructed me to contact did not answer all my calls. You can refer back to the text above to understand why.
🍃 Question 6: Why didn’t you let free it somewhere?
Aside from the things that I had mentioned above, I think the most struggling question that I kept asking myself was: “If it were to pass away on the street right next to my car, how would I feel?” It’s true that you can just leave her be and let fate decide her next course but knowing that she was incapable to defend herself, I can’t do it.
I just can’t make myself a heartless prick towards an innocent animal. I suppose I’m built with this much of (reckless) kindness.
🍃 Question 7: Why did you name her after she passed away? Why “Tori”?
I didn’t wanna give her a name because I don’t wanna treat her as a pet. She’s not a pet, she belonged in the wild with full freedom. At the same time, I didn’t want to have any emotional attachment with her, or at least not so much til I’ll cry my eyes out when I pass her to the rehabilitation center or freed her.
I wanted to give her a unisex name because I didn’t know what her gender was until I further googled after posting that Instastory up. The name “Tori” just somehow fit her. It means “triumphant.” I guess I am wishing for her creator’s blessing on the other side of the world.
I’m sorry that a joyful post had ended with a bitter tone.
That’s all for this post. – 19th June 2018, 12:36 a.m.