Typically goslings, chicks, ducklings, etc are housed inside while they’re vulnerable, either in your home or in a secure barn. In this case mine are being kept in a big tupperware bin in my mud room near the front door. I like going to bed and knowing they’re 100% safe from predators. But during the day time I’ve begun to let them outside in my hornbill’s aviary. I figured my hornbill wouldn’t mind, but I was surprised to observe that he actually seems to enjoy their company and enjoy interacting with them.
The goslings are precious and just seem so happy any time they do anything. I love watching them interact amongst themselves and now around Marion (my hornbill).
It seems like Marion could use a full-time friend, so it’s a very good thing that I have another baby hornbill reserved. She should be hatched sometime this week and ready to come live with Marion in a couple months.
Today I introduced my hornbill to a rubber treat dispenser meant for small dogs. I put pieces of meat inside and left it on my floor for him to discover. In less than five minutes he was on it and figuring how to remove the meat. Next time I’ll cut the meat into bigger pieces to increase the level of difficulty.
I was filming my hornbill tonight on top his cage. He does all sorts of silly things, way too many to name here. But tonight he spotted a little black dot on my ceiling and went after it. He flew from the top of his cage to my ceiling fan, got a good angle on it and then jumped up and caught the fly. What an amazingly skilled hunter! So cool. I’m glad I got it on tape.
I leave his cage door open and he comes and goes. His wings aren’t clipped and my ceilings are high, which is nice for him and fun to watch. He’s unsure of people, but has already taken two pinkie mice from me. One from inside his cage and other from outside (which is more progressive as he definitely had opportunity to move away from my hand if he wanted).
He makes a deep bleating noise that reminds me of a chicken. He likes to do this especially on top of the cage or on top of the ceiling fan blades. He also likes to peck at everything and is right now destroying a wooden branch inside his cage. Nevermind, I glanced over at him just as a small fluffy ball rolled across the cage floor.
Tonight I’m picking up a baby Von der Decken’s Hornbill from the airport. He was a gift purchased earlier in the month and this week he finally became old enough to safely make the flight from Florida to Arizona.
Weeks ago I was counting down the days until he arrived, but Baby’s poor health had overshadowed a lot of that enthusiasm. I know I’m doing everything I can for Baby and maybe some relaxation with a new focus will be good for me. I’ve noticed that I’ve been very irritated with almost everything this month, which has gotten especially bad the last week. I’ve been very depressed and my appetite and sleep habits are poor.
Right now, I’m trying to get excited again about his arrival. I’ve never met an animal that moved me so deeply as the camel, but I’m also very fond of birds. Before I moved, I was taking care of two Red-Tailed Hawks and over the last few years I’ve raised and released several different species of wild birds (pigeons, vulture, crow, raven, hummingbird, cardinal, finch, sparrow, to name a few). But this is different. I hope to form a relationship with the hornbill that extends beyond temporary care as a means of a passage toward something else.
My ultimate goal is to take him to schools and give educational talks, but that’s a long way down the road. He’s coming to me raised by his parents in a large aviary. His first direct human contact will be this afternoon when he’s placed into a crate and onto a plane. But birds are by nature very curious and I have no doubt he’ll figure things out for himself on his own time.
I look forward to meeting him tonight and to the opportunity to introduce him to new experiences and a new species (humans!).