Paradise For Birds

21st November 2017

Kochi with toy monkey
Happily the new leader of the wild langur troop causing so much trouble last month, has at last started to moderate his behavior, and is restricting his hatred of our resident langurs to his verbal barking and the standard display threats. He no longer feels the need to noisily trash my roof!

Now I just have to arrange for the local roofer to come and repair the worst of the damage and secure the loose tiles. This is nerve racking, as of course they use no safety equipment at all, and I cringe to see them at work on the high roofs. At least I can supply them with sturdy metal extending ladders, rather than the rickety and homemade bamboo ones they usual work from. They scoff at my pleas to at least tie themselves on with a rope, and all my concerns seem incomprehensible to them. I simply can’t watch!

Our new boy and helper with the monkeys did not last long. He went back to his village for the Ganesh festival, and never returned, but just this week a local young man has started here, although it is too early  yet to hope we may have long term help.

Kochi meets dixie
Malabar Hornbill

More visits from the hornbills, in fact a virtual glut of them as the big Banyan in the back garden came into fruit, with at least 4 giant, 7 malabar pied and numerous Malabar grey hornbills every morning for a few days. The fruit also attracts many other species of the tropical birds, including green pigeons and parakeets., and the local wild monkeys of course. A real treat for bird watchers, as the trees top is level with our balcony. These trees do not seem to have a specific fruiting season, as a lone Banyan can be seen in fruit in most times of the year it seems, ours usually fruits twice each year. For all the clamor for its berries, they seem pretty uninteresting, being very small, hard and with little flesh on them, and just crammed full of hard seeds. A very early rush to eat them always starts with the birds, but as the sun rises, the monkeys move in and chase everyone else away.

Kochi meets dixie

Regular volunteers from Finland arrived this month, so the monkey’s lives have improved with more walks and lots of new toys and entertainments made for them.

A few of our residents monkeys will not swim in the pool still, and are waiting for the water to warm up to do so. All the rhesus macaques are very determined on this, and like it to be blood heat before they will condescend to take a plunge. We have just three rhesus rescues, all females, Katrina, kia and Kirsty.

They are not native to the south of India , and arrive here only with migrants looking for work in the holiday resorts, and they travel down with these, poached from the wild babies, so they can sell them to tourists. In the northern cities, they are the main species and have a very long association, not trouble free unfortunately, with humans and their habitat. They have quite a different temperament to our local bonnet macaques that comes I am sure, with the long association with humans for so many generations.

Kochi meets dixie
Quite often you can “fool” a bonnet into doing as you ask, just with a simple treat, this only works with a rhesus if they wanted to do it any way! They know when they have the upper hand, say if you want them to move into another section of the cage for cleaning, and are quite prepared to make you wait on their convenience. When babies they are also easier to rear, as they do not need a lead to go out, and seem to understand that you are their protection so always keep close by, whereas even the tiniest bonnet babies will take off without thought into potential danger, given the slightest distraction. Without close contact with the different species, it would be easy to assume that all monkeys are much alike, but even our 3  different types vary so much in personality and behaviours, they are almost as different as a cat from a dog.  

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