Thursday, February 5, 2009


With the event of Bug learning to fly across the room and back , we decided it was time to pay the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre a visit.

The young intern who greeted us on our arrival was happy to show us around and introduce us to each of the residents at the centre. Trotting at his heels was Piggy the young warthog who loves to be scratched even more than eating his favourite meal.

There are quite a few traumatised animals at the centre so I didn't like to photograph them until near the end when the intern mentioned that I might like to take a few photos.

I think my favourite creature was the baby bushpig that arrived in a 500g margerine tub. He was so tiny and malnourished that nobody expected him to survive but they introduced him to a farm pig hoping the two would bond. It was love at first sight! Little bushpig has now grown from margerine tub size to shoebox size and he won't budge unless farm pig is with him.

The Genet kittens climbed out of their hutch and onto the roof to inspect the visitors....

There were several Reedbuck and Duiker, a shy Jackal, an owl and many injured egrets that only just survived a terrible storm we had a few weeks ago.

Inside the feeding room were several baby birds that will be Bug's roomates for the next week or so. A Fork-tailed Drongo on one side and a Golden Oriel on the other. The news that really pleases my heart is that there are two other Thrushes (one an Olive Thrush like Bug), only a week or two older than he is. They are already in the outside aviaries but once Bug is able to feed himself completely he will move out to be with them. When they are ready to leave, the aviary will be opened and they can fly off whenever they feel like it and return if they want to at night or for a snack. A Red Wing Starling that was released 2 months ago returns every morning for a 3 course meal, starting with mango and ending with meel worms. I like this arrangement because the birds can just ease into the wild at their own pace.

It was with heavy hearts that we drove away from the wildlife centre. I know we left Bug in very capable hands but it was sad all the same. The thing that I keep reminding myself is that he has a far better chance out in the open countryside than in a built up area and to have the opportunity to bond with another Olive Thrush before taking flight is a huge bonus.


  1. I've loved following these posts!! Great that Bug will be with some feathered companions. It's a great story and I love that idea of the aviary being left open so they can come and go later before leaving for the open skies......

  2. It sounds like you've done the very best thing for Bug that you can. I'm sure he'll be very happy in his new habitat. His story would make a wonderful children's book....I'm just saying......You should do it.

  3. what a loving thing you did for Bug.
    happy days,

  4. my heart aches a bit for you and for the end of the stories of Bug, but it also rejoices that because of you he has a chance at growing up and growing old - this is just another positive step in that direction.

    Well done. I, for one, salute you.

  5. you have a big heart robyn,cause you really acted on the saying 'when you love something(one) set it free',and i am sure you have recieved as much as you have given.
    what a lovely experience for you to cherish forever.

  6. Very well done. I have returned animals to the wild and it is very hard to do. You did the right thing.

  7. I totally agree with Steviewren! A children's book about Bug would be absolutely delightful. Do it!!! :)

  8. Awww...Robyn, your story brought monkey-tears to my eyes.
    I hope Bug will mature and live a long, free life. Once again, my friend, your beauty is showing.
    Love & Laughter

  9. such a lovely story with a bittersweet ending. you did the right thing and gave bug the best chance possible.

  10. a happy ending..*breaking out into a bad rendition of the circle of life..*

  11. Waaaaaah! We're gonna miss Bug.
    Susan and Don

  12. Bye Bug! Happy life! We will remember you......

  13. i have a friend here who worked for a bit at the Raptor center... she would babysit hawks and owls, and sometimes bring them into the ceramic studio and let us see, if we were gentle...

    What you did is beautiful.
    That's all the heart can really say to the feeling, to honor it.

    Bug was beautiful, but always, he is with you... and us.


  14. After reading in the newspaper today that three tigers were poisoned at a National Park, it is hearwarming to see how well cared for these creatures at the rehabilitation centre are.
    I shall miss the Bug posts, but I'm sure you'll pay a him a visit and we can get another post then?

  15. Annie, yes Bug was quite stunned having all the other birds around him. His head was cocked to the side listening to the different chirps, trying to decipher a sound that he recognised. When he heard the thrush call he loosened up considerably.

    Stevie, sounds wonderful....maybe one day :-)

    Thanks Joanie.

    Michelle, a positive step indeed. Thanks.

    Megha, the darling little bird made such an impact even though we only had him for 2 weeks.

    Thanks Robert.

    Willow, I'm pondering....

    DJ, love and laughter back at ya.

    Theresa, I think it was best.

    Grrl....LOL...thanks for that!

    Don and Susan :-( First time I've used that face I think...

    Thanks Leslie.

    Mansuetude, thank you.

  16. The hardest part of loving with an open heart is this part of letting go and knowing when what's best may mean not being together... I'm sure there will be a period of mourning, with all the time you dedicated to his care now returned to you. Bug's recovery and growth was remarkable due to your dedication! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. What a wonderful refuge you have so near by, as well - looks like they are doing some great work there.
    best to you, Karin

  17. I cried because I was happy and because I was sad - Happy that bug will have a chance and sad at the thought you have to let him go....goodbye bug.xxo

  18. That must have been so hard! I'd have cried to leave him there ... but it is the right thing to do. I hope you get to visit him and let us know how he's doing. The little one has made a place in my heart just through the pictures - it must be so much harder for you!

  19. bug is just the picture of self confidence there, robyn! and he's with a golden oriel now... wow, i'd love to hang out with a golden oriel! this sounds like the perfect place for bug to transition into life as a free bird... xo

  20. Ah, I'm sure you were so upset! I would be, but we do know it's for the best. A story would be great, you can do it.....

  21. Beautiful rescue, Robyn. Time well spent, there is no doubt.Sharing this magnificent saga via your blog was very appreciated. We all know doing that is quite time consuming. Some of the photographs you took were spectacular and thanks to the pictures you took of the centre, we all know that Bug is going to thrive in such an environment.

  22. Karin, yes I'm so impressed with the wildlife centre. It has made all the difference.

    Jeane, you make me feel so much better knowing that you cried. I wept buckets to the point where my daughter said "Ma,it's a bird!"

    Bindu, I have phoned to find out how he's settled in. They love him and call him Einstein because of the fluff around his head.....and he is doing well.

    Lynne, you better believe it! It really is the most perfect place I could ever have hoped for.

    Jude....upset? Now that's an understatement. :-) But I'm smiling now.

    Thanks Curio. It really was time well spent.

  23. As hard as it must have been, you did a good thing. The place looks very nice and I know Bugs will make his adjustment wonderfully.

  24. Yes, I would have had a hard time too, but isn't wonderful that there is such a place for Bug? Hugs.

  25. Some friends for Bug of his own kind.. that surely helps ...This is the best choice you could make.. the knowledge that he can come back to the center and still have that connection is heartwarming..

    The care you took of him Robyn is why he is alive.. thank you for your sweet and caring heart..

  26. What an uplifting and beautiful post.
    You are amazing and so giving to all the animals in your life.
    What a wonderful rescue and rehabilitation center you have. I loved seeing all the pictures of the animals and of course little bug.

  27. To give life is to give love.... and that's what you have done for "bug".

    Going to the rehab center is the best chance for "bug's" ongoing survival... he got a good start from you :-)

    Happy life Bug!

  28. Letting Bug go is a very loving and selfless act, just as caring for him up to now has been. Perhaps he'll find his way back to you one day, take up residence in your garden, raise a family there... Life is full of spirals of coincidence. And you'll hear all their songs... And without even knowing it, he'll be repaying your kindness...

  29. Thanks HHMN.

    Katie Jane, you are right, Bug will adjust.

    Heather, I hadn't even heard of the centre but a week before we found Bug there was an article in the paper about them and something kept telling me to take down the phone number in case I needed it one day. I actually went back to the paper the next day and wrote it down.

    Thanks Gwen. I was hoping there would be another Olive Thrush and finding that there was, gave me a big lift.

    Painter girl, we are lucky to have this centre just a half hours drive away.

    Heather, all in all the centre is a safer place for his release. What more could I wish for?

    Kendalee, I had never thought of him finding his way back to my garden again and though it's quite far away it is a lovely thought.

  30. Well, we are going to miss Bug, but you did the right thing. Good for you!

  31. I really loved this post, Robyn. Must have been tough, but how reassuring to bring him to this place.

    I can't get over that cute little warthog. I had no idea they could be so little and affectionate. I guess they've all got their own unique personalities.

  32. I have loved reading about Bug's adventures in your home Robyn but I am glad that he has been give the best chance of survival. That animal sanctuary is a wonderful place. I want a little animal like Piggy...ha ha.

    Love the pictures from the African Interiors book. They have some amazing native patterns and fabrics.

    As for those giraffe. Absolutely amazing place. I cannot believe they are so tall.

  33. How hard to part with the little friend you cared for so dearly. You did the right thing for Bug. What a wonderful story.

  34. Thanks AAZen. It was quite tough to see him go but I had peace of mind.