Hillcrest resident, Janette Klein lives on two acres of land, half of which is a small forest. And not surprisingly, many kinds of wild birds live in this little piece of paradise. It is here that a pair of Hornbills visit on a daily basis to get their favourite snack of black seedless grapes. And they’re not the only interesting visitors says Janette. “There is also a scarlet Amazon that escaped from somewhere and has been living in this area for about two years. Apart from the Macaw and the hornbills, we ourselves have a canary and a male Eclectus parrot. The house is a double story thatched house and the ‘Eccie’ flies around freely inside.”
It was five years ago, when Janette moved in to her partner’s house that she noticed the Trumpeter Hornbills. He told her they had been there previously.
“They came every day and sat in our avocado tree,” she says. “I started to feed them fruit at about the same time. They are reasonably tame. If I take too long to feed them, the male bird dive bombs one of the upstairs windows until he gets my attention. He has broken the window with his huge beak before. They are very fussy and will only eat black seedless grapes. I have tried other fruits and green grapes, but they only want black grapes (imported from Egypt!). I don’t hand feed them. I open the window and say ‘hello’ to them and they stare at me, then I throw the grapes onto the grass. They fly down, hop along until the grapes are all finished, and then fly back to the tree branch. They have actually cleared the branch of all small twigs and leaves.
“The male is very sweet and tries to feed the female once they have the grapes. This is the first time they have had chicks. First, the female disappeared and we never saw her for three months. They male started coming for grapes about five to six times a day and we were very hopeful that she might be sitting on eggs. But after such a long time I thought she may have been killed. Then one day, about three weeks ago, the female arrived and not the male. The next day they both came, and after that, they brought their two babies to visit.
“Now the babies have come back several times with their parents. I think they nest somewhere in the forest, but I’ve never actually seen their nest site.
The babies are now growing bigger and the four continue to visit.
Janette is thrilled to have the little family in the garden saying: “My partner and I feel very blessed to have been chosen as honorary grandparents!”
Did You Know:
The female incubates her eggs in a sealed nest for 25 days. The nest is sealed with mud brought by the male. She leaves a small hole for him to feed the family. She and the babies remain there for 50 days and then she breaks out of the nest. After a week the babies will start foraging with their parents.