Sunday, May 16, 2010

To help or not to help....

When I photographed this plump larva on the small lime plant, I had visions of it metamorphosing into a beautiful lime butterfly.

Two days later I saw that a group of babblers had entered the garden and were busy scouting for food with their sharp eyes focused on plants like a search light. Watching from the kitchen, my first thought was "should I drive them away, because I could see that there is little chance of the lime larvae escaping attention.

Then the thought came "Who am I to play God, after all the babbler has as much of a right to live as the larva. So I watched.

Sure enough, within minutes, the loudest and and biggest babbler had got his prize-a plump green larva in his beak- the very same one which I was waiting to see the transformation into a lime butterfly. All visions of the flitting butterfly crushed in a moment!

Few days later

This white eye chick has just fallen from its nest. It is so motionless, yet a mild quiver of the body says it is alive. I resist an urge to pick it up and put it on a nearby tree. Soon I hear the frantic parents on another tree.

White eyes are usually very muted in their songs-one has to strain the ears to hear them while they are foraging. But just now the parent birds were ballistic- flying about and chirping continuously. Again I watched from a distance.

As if motivated by the coaxing of the parents, the chick flew a short distance. The coaxing continued and the chirping shriller.

About half hour later, I found the chick had managed reaching the nearest bush-a jasmine plant. It kept sitting there while the parents came with morsels of food.

So this story ended happily- it was clear that the chick had overcome the fall and was on its way to start life again.


Anonymous said...

Great story Susan! So it is the lime larvae? I had about three of them growing fat on the plant and the next day they were in a transparent cocoon and the day after that they had vanished, leaving the papery cocoon behind. Never saw the butterflies, but now that I am wiser am going to keep an eye on the next batch!


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan
I plead guilty to playing God in such cases. After all, butterflies are very beautiful so I carefully place the caterpillars on such branches of the same tree where they escape from the birds although they play havoc with my roses very often.Birds can always eat other insects from my garden which are more troublesome.I like to have butterflies fluttering by.

IndianWildlifeClub said...

Hi Bela,
Backyard wildlife is a great way to connect with the teeming animal and bird life around us. Each one of us find her personal way to connect. Isn't it a great feeling?

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks again Susan. I believe your plump caterpillar is a little different from mine. Mine did not have the skirt and the myriad feet. Sanjay Tiwari says there are two kinds of lime butterfly caterpillars. Will try to photograph the lime butterfly emerging next time.

nothingprofound said...

Yes, I'm an interferer. More than once I've shooed away a cat about to pounce on an unsuspecting squirrel or bird. I know in the grand scheme of things it's a futile gesture, and nothing really to be proud of, but it makes me feel in some small way I'm helping to support life.

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

IndianWildlifeClub said...

Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

IndianWildlifeClub said...

Glynda Clardy a wildlife biologist with the state of Mississippi writes in
What To Do When You Find A Baby Wild Animal

“It always happens in the spring…I start getting phone calls that someone has found an orphaned baby bird, rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, or deer. It's a common dilemma, but deep down we all know the right answer....A young animal’s best chance for survival is to be raised by its own mother. ONLY after all efforts to reunite the baby with its parents have been exhausted should a possible orphan be removed from the wild! DO NOT try to raise the baby yourself!
Is the baby really an orphan? The most commonly rescued animal is the infant bird, fallen from a nest or grounded in the course of learning to fly (also called fledging). Most would-be rescuers fear a cat or some other predator will find the bird sooner or later. Yet the bird will have a better chance of reaching adulthood if left alone. The most important thing to do is to make sure the animal is truly orphaned. Most baby wild animals do not need our help. Wild mothers frequently leave their babies to either feed themselves or hunt food for the babies. They are usually close by but sometimes will not return if humans are present. Fledgling birds normally spend a few days on the ground being fed by parents. Often well-meaning rescuers pick up and take away healthy youngsters while their parents helplessly watch. A baby's best chance for survival is with its parents. Even if you know the mother is dead, check around for another parent. In some species the father will still feed and raise the babies.
If you are sure the baby is orphaned or is injured, rescue them, but call the nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian as soon as possible!