Monday, August 22

good deed for the day

last saturday, adri & i were with a small group of my students and a co-teacher who were sampling at the pagbilao experimental mangrove forest.  the objective was to isolate microalgae and magnetic bacteria possibly present from the silt and water.

while the students were winding down with their sample collection, i headed towards an area where mangrove seedlings were being gathered to take some pictures that i thought might be useful for some of my science & society classes. while i was taking photos, a slight movement in the old fishing nets which enclosed the area caught my attention.

all tangled up in a fish-net fence!

upon closer inspection, i saw that it was a collared kingfisher who had unfortunately got himself tangled in the nets!  the poor thing was struggling hard, causing the nylon threads to tighten even further around him!  i looked at this little bird with a big beak and i realised i needed help to help this guy.  i called adri who called the old caretaker of the park.  with no scissors in hand, the caretaker used a HUGE bolo to very,very, VERY carefully cut the thin strings. i was amazed at the gentleness of the old man and not a single feather on the kingfisher was harmed as he cut him from the net with an instrument that could very well turn it to minced meat. (adri later told me he actually feared for his fingers holding the bird while the old man was handling the bolo) thankfully the kingfisher stopped struggling and it made the task easier.  after he was cut loose, we saw that that nylon strings had  wrapped tightly around his body and there was no way we could use the bolo without harming him.  adri got out his pocketknife, and we used the much smaller blade to carefully cut off the strings.  it seemed pretty painful to do this, but the bird couldn't survive tangled with strings.  finally we had cut all the strings out, and we thought, success!

notice the HUGE bolo being handled with extreme precision & gentle-ness

its struggling got the poor thing even more entangled, it was so difficult to cut it out of the knotted fish-net which covered its body

but sadly, the bird had gone completely limp in my hands!  it couldn't hold its head up or stand on its feet. i gave it a few drops of water to drink but it still couldn't stand up by itself.  it was so sad!  adri and ronald (of the team energy foundation) thought it needed time to recover in the shade so we brought it the terrace of one of the pavillions. i tried setting it on the table but it still was limp on its side.  it wasn't said out loud, but i think we were all thinking that we were too late to save it... but suddenly, with a sudden burst of strength, the kingfisher attempted to fly off the table.  it struggled and landed on the floor but just as i was about to pick it up again, it flew solidly towards the mangroves and landed on one of the low branches looking quite ruffled but otherwise recovered. i guess no more fishnets for this fisher-king! (and i wish the same for all other feathered, furry or scaly creatures)

it's wonderful how nature can recover if we give it a chance!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you have the option, it is important that you contact people trained or authorized to handle any sick or injured wild animal before you attempt to do so yourself.

(super thanks to ricky, aine, leni and ronald of team energy foundation, inc. for sponsoring and assisting us on this trip!)


  1. I was ready to cry already when I was reading that it got limp and that you were too late to save it.... then goosebumps when I read that it flew!
    Hooray Trinket! Hooray Adri! Rah rah rah to Team Energy!
    There are no coincidences in this world, you were led to that precise area Trinket to rescue the kingfisher. Sometimes you must listen to the voices in your head....

  2. great job! im sure that kingfisher was terribly grateful...