Our Amazing Tortolito Tale
I hate to be a copy-cat but I have a bird story too. My wife (Eneida) has a small house she rents and one day she returned to our condo, after working in the garden of her house, with a small cardboard box. “Guess what this is”, she said. She opened the lid and there, nestled in some paper towel was a tiny, almost necked baby bird. Its eyes weren’t even open yet and she explained it fell out of a nest in a bush she was trimming and she didn’t know what else to do with it, except to bring it home.
Well this presented a real challenge. It appeared to be a Tortolito (Turtledove), but we could not be sure and really had no idea what or how to feed it. So by trial and error, bread soaked in milk was the fare and gentling opening its beak to force down the small bits of bread seemed to work.
After a few days it seemed to be surviving on this diet and our confidence grew. The baby became used to being fed this way and there was less and less resistance until one day it actually began to take the bits of bread on its own. That was a great relief. It was also growing, soon had pin-feathers and we were then sure that it was indeed a Tortolito. We named him Hoohito.
Day by day the little fellow (as we found out later) became stronger and more self reliant. The little box had been replaced by a small cage and he happily made our house his home but had not ventured outside. He was about three-quarters grown and loved to sit on our shoulders or chest as we sat on the sofa. He was eating with great gusto by this time.
We were doing construction on our condo project and frequently had delivery vehicles arrive at the site. On one such day Eneida spent a little longer than expected with the delivery men and had left the door to the condo open. When she came back to the house Hoohito was nowhere to be found. Our conclusion was that he finally matured and was gone. What a sad day that was.
Four days later, we heard a rustle of wings outside and suddenly there he was, Hoohito sitting on the railing of the patio. We called him and he flew into Eneida’s hands. We got some bread and he began to eat like there was no tomorrow. He probably ate for the four days he was gone all in one sitting! That night we kept him in his cage outside on the patio and discussed we what to do in the morning. Our conclusion was he had to be free, so in the morning Eneida gave him a little Mom to Son talk and said, “Hoohito, we will let you go if that's what you want and you came come home to eat any time you wish; there will always be food here for you.”
And that's what has happened. We opened the cage in the morning and after a while he eventually left, but he came back during the afternoon to eat and again in the evening. Since that day he returns regularly three or four times a day for his food. He knows where his food is kept and flies into the house if his cage door is shut, to let us know he's there. Sometimes he spends time with us sitting on our chest or shoulder, or stays in his cage for 30 minutes or more after he eats, just like he’s one of the family.
It has been about two and a half years since Hoohito went on his own and his routine has not changed except that he has a novia and also brings her with him to feed. We know of at least three sets of offspring raised in a nest in a little bush in front of the house. Animals are truly amazing!