Two days ago I was on my motorcycle, riding to town and a little girl came running up alongside me as I was driving and put a small bird on my forearm. He had a string tied around his little leg and the poor chap looked right up at me and gave me the sad eyes.
He didn’t move or try to fly away at all. The little girl said, ”hamsa birr,” which means 50 birr. She wanted me to buy him for 50 birr. I said no way and then looked down at the precious little guy again. I felt so bad for him and knew something wasn’t right since he was just sitting there so calm and collected.
I am fairly opposed to having birds as pets (as a child I was told that their feathers alone held massive amounts of worms and diseases, so I can only image what a whole bird had to offer) and certainly was not going to give this small child 50 birr for a wild bird.
My heart grew pretty soft as it sat on my arm so I stopped my bike, looked at the bird and made a decision. I told the girl I would give her 10 birr to let the bird go free. She agreed and started to untie the shackles from his foot. She couldn’t get it off, so she just threw the bird in to the bushes. I was a bit startled and looked over to see the bird, still in chains, sitting on a bush and breathing really hard.
I knew if I left him there she would just take him back and do who knows what with him, so I grabbed him, took off his chains and drove him to the hospital compound. He stayed on my arm for a good hour or more and with the help of some friends and google, we decided that he was probably a yellow bellied chat.
I did like how cuddly he was, but I also knew that I did not want to take him home. I took him outside and found a very nice avocado tree and set him on the branch. I put a bit of cracker next to him for good measure and walked away.
I checked for him the next day and he was no where to be found. I like to think he regained himself physically and mentally, found his family and flew off in to the morning sunrise.
Here are some pictures of the little gem I named Jail Bait: