A Bird in the hand ………..


…. in this case is not worth two in the bush but it was a wonderful opportunituy to admire the startlingly vivid patches of colour on this Noisy Pitta (Pitta versicolor) so well described by its scientific name.

A newly cleaned window and a gap in our ‘defence line’ of hanging baskets, chimes and various artistic dangling items along our verandah allowed this beautiful bird to see a reflection of trees and space and consequently it hit the window a glancing blow.  Still alive but badly stunned I immediately placed the bird in a dark box.  We checked after 30 minutes but as it was allowing us to take a few photos without attempting to fly we returned it to the box for another hour.  When subsequently  released  into a suitable area of forest on the edge of the garden (but on the opposite side of the house) I am pleased to report that it hopped off quite confidently.

And the verandah defence line has been reinforced.


Another view, showing more detail of the undertail-coverts.  I confess I am not overly familiar with Noisy Pitta as we have only started to observe them at Wild Wings more frequently in the last two years and its usually a quick glimpse.  After referring to Graham Pizzey’s description, in his well known field guide, I think this bird is a male as the female is described as having ‘pink’ undertail-coverts and I would describe the above as an orange-red.

6 responses to “A Bird in the hand ………..

  1. Hi Barbara.
    Your encounter with a Noisy Pitta ended better than one I was involved with. A WIRES rescue which failed, unfortunately. Too much bureaucracy, too slow to release.
    Beautiful birds.
    My specimen is now in CSIRO collection in Canberra. Perfect condition – except dead, if you get my point.

  2. Wow! What an opportunity to see and photograph this beautiful bird up close. Too bad that it stunned itself against the window but I am glad it all ended well.

  3. Hi Mick and Denis, we were very relieved about the happy ending to our tale. I whistled to the bird as it hopped off and it stopped and looked back at me (probably wondering what language I was speaking?)

    Some quiet time in a dark, safe place can do wonders for concussion. I’m curious about your story Denis – had the bird been in care for a while?

  4. Lucky you! And lucky bird, too. Interesting also that bird seems to ‘crouching small’ while in hand?

  5. Yes it may have had something to do with its headache? When I opened the box the second time it was ready to go, fully alert and energetic.

  6. Hi Barbara
    Yes, there was a 3 day delay in getting the bird to me, and then I passed it immediately to WIRES, but they delayed a further 24 hours, wondering where they could release it safely. The bird died in captivity, unfortunately, while “experts” were unable to make a decision.
    It was thought to be an extension of its range, where it was found.
    I wanted to release it into rainforest on the Illawarra Escarpment, but WIRES local headquarters said it was not appropriate. I have since heard that they are not uncommon in the Illawarra region anyway.
    I regret involving WIRES, I should have followed my gut instinct.
    I am only 5 Kms from suitable habitat, but was told not to release it there.

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