Hi, I am a tiny bird! Tiny, but with bright colours.
I live happily in nature, under the sun, I get drunk
on freedom. I am lively, cheerful and a fast flyer.
In my country, in the Java, Sumatra, Borneo islands
and their surroundings, I essentially live in the hoods
or on their edge.
I eat insects that I catch playfully, I treat myself
to some delicious flower nectar, I peck about wild berries,
they are sweet, juicy and mellow.
I like my family and my bird-mates. We have quite the
same size, but often bear very different colours.
In fact we are related, like cousins, but from different
species. Our family includes around 49 different species.
Yet I must underline that we live quite a solitary life,
and we prefer to be alone, or with one mate, but no
Sometimes, 5 or 6 couples gather together in an orchard,
just the time to pick fruits, but this is the maximum.
We know that we must respect everyone's territory, and
we also like ours, so that we are ready to fight for
it when needed.
Life is great ... when everything is OK.
one day, my life was totally disrupted!
A native man we were used to see and of whom we should
have been more wary, came with nets and fillets.
He caught us by surprise at nightfall: we were 200,
maybe 300! We could not fly away.
What a fright!
Then he shoved us into small boxes with a wire mesh,
a tiny pot with water and some kind of mash on which
None of us ate during two long days! We were too frightened!
Oh yes, we drank, because we did not feel like dying
Although, to live in these conditions .. I wonder if
it is really worth it!
And some of us died: out of fright, out of heat, of
hunger and of distress also.
But I resisted, standing firmly on my feet, tight against
the others: in our distress, we no longer thought to
fight for some square centimetres.
After a couple of days in these crates, a lorry took
us to an airport.
I was exhausted: the noise, the fright, the shocks,
the heat, the tasteless food! What a sadness.
No need to speak about the flight, in the plane
but I am still there, I am living!
Suddenly, we are cold, very cold. We must still drink
the same dirty water, the same foul mash, soiled by
our own faeces: how awful!
Then, a young, white man takes us out of our crates:
We are released in a vast room, which is white, clean,
and light! Finally!
The ground is near, and so are the perches, the light
I recover some of my confidence.
I can fly, stretch my feet and my wings: I wish I could
wash myself, and drink, and eat something.
And here is the man again, bringing us some food: a
quite decent mash, and a beverage, that is yellow and
Well it has nothing to do with the
flower nectar, but it is nice.
There is also clear water, and in a little pot tiny
brown worms that are wiggling about!
I am hungry, and I eat! I sample everything.
After one day or two with that diet, I begin to regain
Then I realise that we are very, very numerous and suddenly,
Two of my friends are fighting like cat and dog, fiercely:
I know the outcome of the battle
This is a duel:
one of them must die, one of them will die, one of them
As days go by, bloody fighting continues.
We have no water to have a bath, and some of us decide
to bathe in this sweet beverage
they die of it.
With sticky and glued wings, it is no longer possible
to fly, nor to fight, nor to fly away
But finally the white man seems to have understood:
he brings us trays with fresh and clear water.
For a few minutes, we have good time, hopping in the
water, preening our feathers
We forget almost
everything. How good!
Life gradually recovers.
Then, on a nice morning, a woman comes by us. She watches
us carefully, takes pictures, speaks with the white
man and point some of us out, including me.
And the white man, who was yet quite nice, steps in
again, with his net in the hand!
And yet it goes again!
The fright first, then the small crate, and the car,
We are six, all different, not really from the same
We arrive in a new home, and there three of us are put
into one cage, and the three remaining in another cage,
much smaller than our former aviary.
The sweet beverage is even better, and so is the mash,
but we are cramped.
After two days, our fears are overcome and we begin
to fight again.
Do these people understand anything, who go by without
really watching us?
Our fights are always duels! Fly away or die.
But here, there is no way to escape.
Well, the lady finally understood that my cousin laid
siege to the feeding dish and prevented the two others
But the lady ignores that the two other birds have the
choice: either starve or die from a fatal blow of the
beak! She is not kidding, the little cousin: she is
small indeed, but robust and strong!
And there are changes in the cages : we are put in pairs
But what the nice lady still ignores, is that two birds
that are not in love cannot live together. She does
not understand that there will be other deaths
There has been deaths: every other bird died, I had
I barely escaped death myself: I am bleeding, I am hurt
above the beak, I am suffering.
What an hideous life!
Each of us is now alone in his cage. Well, they needed
much time and deaths to understand.
I, the injured, is put into a white cage, on a desk,
near the window; my he-cousin is around in another cage
and my she-cousin is just beside me, in another cage
but on the same desk.
Here it is bright, and warmer also.
I am lucky, I can look through the window and imagine
I am far
Thinking and sometimes dreaming.
My he-cousin is not well: the travel affected him, but
above all, he is depressed! He attempts to eat and to
drink, but I thing he will rather let go.
The she-cousin, that little pest, is all ruffled: yet
it is she that almost killed me!
She is not very well indeed.
We are three wounded beings.
The food becomes better (or else I am getting used to
it)! The sweet beverage is more tasty, something must
have been added, like a vague taste of pollen, in addition
to the honey.
The fruits are nice also, surprising but tasty, and
the mash is not bad.
I am recovering some strength, but my he-cousin died
The she-cousin seems to be better. The little devil,
I see her hopping on the lady's hand, and even eating
in the hand or in the pot that is presented to her.
And now she is crawling, the cousin!
This morning she even peeped slightly when the lady
came in, and the lady answered!
Her cry (that of the lady) made me laugh heartily, even
if I understood nothing
Well, I had not laughed
Now my foot hurts me, I cannot put it on the ground
again, I do not know what happens to me!
The lady saw I was suffering (hey, wonderful! she has
got eyes, this one!).
She is talking to me softly, I do not understand anything,
she puts her big hand in 'my' cage and grasps me.
My heart is pounding wildly: what is going to happen
The lady applies a bit of cotton on my foot, with a
gentle oil and the oil smells good.
She also rubs gently the wound of my head with a wet
and warm cotton, and she continues to speaks to me softly.
I do not suffer, I think my fears have almost vanished.
She lays gently something on my head, says sweet things
and puts me back into the cage after having cleaned
My foot no longer hurts, and I can lay it back on the
ground. It seems that in fact something was stuck in
my skin, between two spurs.
I can have some rest, now, close my eyes and think of
my country, wondering how I will manage to adapt to
my new life, because I am convinced I have no other
Either I adapt or I die, and I am too young to die.