Birds – Can you think of a day that went by without seeing or hearing a bird? According to the Belize Audubon Society there are as many as 587 species of birds recorded in Belize making the country an ideal setting for bird watchers. The tropical forests, savannahs, numerous cayes, wetlands, and coastal plains of Belize offer a myriad of habitat to these birds.
Nearly half of our nation’s land and adjacent waters are protected under forest reserves, marine reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and other protected area designation. Protection of birds, and endangered animals in general, is a big deal here in Belize. It is with this in mind that in 2004, The Belize Bird Rescue was formed to assist injured parrots in Belize.
The Belize Bird rescue is a parrot rehabilitation center and a bird sanctuary; to date it assists several other species of birds. The latest bird the organization assisted was a male Common Black Hawk which was rescued, treated and released back to its natural habitat. On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, two volunteers of the Belize Bird Rescue Organization along with the Black Hawk traveled to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye where the hawk was released back into the wild.
Ambergris Today met with Jonathan Urbina and Sarah Mann who explained how they came about with the bird, its rehabilitation process and release to the wild. Urbina stated that bird came from Caye Caulker where its parents built a nest within a yard and the parents became over protective and they began attacking people who would come around the yard. In the process of removing the bird from the area it received three fractures and it was taken to the rehabilitation center in Roaring Creek, Belize with the help of the Belize Wildlife Communication.
“Human interference is one of the biggest problems that these birds face once a person tries to move them from their natural habitat. We end up with hurt animals; it is best if you contact the proper authorities that know how to handle and deal with the animals so as not to hurt them,” stated Sarah Mann.
According to Mann and Urbina, people have the misconception that these birds (Common Black Hawk) will eat or attack pets, but these hawks only eat mice, rats, snakes and crabs. The hawk was released on Thursday, August 8, 2013, 12 miles North of Ambergris Caye and it was a soft release.
“We say a soft release because the hawk has to get accustomed to its new surrounding and will be fed by a wonderful volunteer, Mr. Greg Smith, who was willing to take care or the bird,” commented Urbina. “It should take the hawk about two to three weeks to get familiar with the area and find his own territory.”
According to Urbina, the male hawk which is between four to five months of age will be released at the northern part of Ambergris Caye.
The public is reminded to be kind to birds and all animals. If someone ever encounters a bird that is abandoned, mistreated or injured kindly they can contact the Belize Wildlife Communication at toll free number 0-800-822-8888 or 605-8888.