Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Toucan Mail Art

We have a nesting pair of toucans in the tree behind our cabina. They have a nest in a hole in the trunk of a Mango tree. They are so beautiful; it is hard to believe how rich their colors are. Toucans are very skittish around people so getting photos of them is difficult. You have to stay out of sight and hope that they don't hear you.

I made this faux mail art post card in celebration of the nesting Toucans. The photo is of the male toucan , who was at the time of the photo sitting in one of the huge mango trees down the lane from their nest. I hope that we get to see the fledglings emerge before we have to move back to the US. What a treat that would be!
Addition on April 8, 2010
A few days have passed since I posted the above. Since then I have taken to setting up the video camera in the pasture where the Toucans live. I have left the video camera running for hours at a time and then taken the camera back to the house to watch and fast forward to activity to and from the nest. It has been very educational. After being educated in the habits of nesting toucans, I felt like I might have more luck at actually capturing them with my still camera. So off I went to the large mango tree where the toucans are nesting, equipped with the video camera on a tripod and my still camera around my neck. I knew that my approach would spook the sitting toucan and that she would fly off a short distance as a diversion. So I didn't try to sneak in. I just walked into the area and started setting up the video camera. As expected, the toucan popped out of the hole and flew away. Once the video was set up I went and consealed myself in a large planting of Bird of Paradise, thinking that when she flew back to her nest she would fly over and not see me, as I was covered by the tall leaves of the planting. It was mid-day and the sun was strong. The sunburn I had gotten from an extended walk the day before was stinging as sweat trickled down my back. Time went on and on, but no toucan flew overhead. I decided after awhile to change to a more shaded location. So I moved to the line of Mandarine trees that were directly behind the cabina. I hoped that the tree trunks would mask my location from the bird as she came back to tend the nest. Time drug by, those annoying little ants that bite and hurt like crazy had made lunch from my ankles, and still there was no toucan activity at the nest. I was beginning to worry about the unattended nest. I decided that I should leave the area and just be satisfied with the video, when I glanced around at something moving in the tree overhead. I met the stare of the male toucan who was sitting in the tree right above me.... I felt silly. Here I had been standing in the flower bed adding sun to my already crispy nose, and then providing fodder for the little ants from hell, all the while the toucan was concealed in the branches above me watching the show. So I took the opportunity to get some very nice close-up shots of him, packed up my gear and went home.
Later, after viewing the video I came to understand that the toucans had not left the nest unattended. Both toucans can fit into the hollow inside the tree, I just caused the male to come out to distract me, which he is obviously very good at...all the time he was watching me in the tree above me, she was sitting patiently on the eggs waiting for hubby to return so she could get a break from the nest. Obviously my toucan education is on going.

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