October 2018. We started hearing a bird singing. Its singing came from the top. Unfortunately we could not see it, because it was hidden on the roof. He sang a lot during all summer. His singing was beautiful. As soon as season was over, we didn’t hear him anymore. It is common for birds to migrate when winter is coming. This is usually due to the cold that it makes during the winter months.
Winter passed and then spring came, bringing the warmth and joy of the flowers.
In November 2019 I was writing a new story when I noticed the beautiful singing I had already heard all past summer at my house. A bigger surprise was when I turned back, seeing him perched on my balcony. This time he made himself present, showed himself. It seemed not to care much for my presence. The next day he repeated his feat. It is possible that he knew I liked birds very much. In gratitude for his visits, I offered him a piece of banana.
It wasn’t long before I realize there was something very peculiar on this bird: it didn’t have one of its legs. It made me feel even more affection for him. Not because of the lack of his leg. But knowing that, in addition to visit me and showing empathy, he was an animal that had been injured at some point in his life. He could have been wounded by humans included. But that didn’t stop him from getting close, let alone getting close to me.
I soon realized clearly that we had sealed a strong friendship.
Due to his particularity, I decided to call him affectionately “Little Leg”. However, there was only one question left. Was he the same bird as last summer? How can I say yes if I couldn’t see him before? The song, however, was exactly the same.
My curiosity for it increased. I started researching more about the bird trying to identify the breed and its habits to better help it. I took a picture of it and recorded his singing. I then sent it to a friend who knows more about birds. A few hours later she answered my message and part of my curiosity had been abolished.
“Little Leg” is the species “Sanhaço do Coqueiro”, a bird typical from Latin American forests. It lives in semi-open and wooded areas, feeding mainly on fruits and small insects. Gradually I noticed that “Little Leg” loves eating bananas, but also likes papaya very much. She eats apple, but it is not her favorite fruit.
And so it was another summer. “Little Leg” slept in the roof and attended the balcony of my bedroom very often, remaining most of the time perched on the threshold of the balcony, singing.
The summer ended and the autumn brought with it the cool wind. The nights became colder. One day “Little Leg” did not appear. Its singing was silent. He didn’t even peck the food. I got apprehensive. I thought something might have happened to the bird. It was then that I remembered about last summer and the day when we didn’t hear it anymore. That was it. Winter was coming and the migration period had arrived.
I missed my new friend very much. But I understood that his departure was necessary. Before continuing, I want to say “Yes”, I have a bird as a friend. I prayed for him, asking God for its protection. Soon things went quiet. There is a strong tendency for everything to quiet down with time.
Just before next summer came, on a lovely October morning, I opened my bedroom´s door and sat on the balcony to get some sun. It was so nice that I closed my eyes and slightly turned my face up. I began to breathe slowly and deeply, in a state of meditation. That’s when the song I knew very well made me open my eyes. To my great joy and amazement, there it was, perched again on the threshold of my balcony, serene and singing as usual. This time it was easy to prove that it was the same bird due to its particularity: “Little Leg” has only one leg.
I made no sudden movements. I only contemplated it with the most sincere and deep gratitude.
As soon as “Perninha” went out for a flight, I went to get some food and water and left them in the usual place. In gratitude for his return, I made a suitable support for food and I constructed a little wood house for it. The first became small and then I undertook on the construction of a bigger one. The last became better and pleased it.
The day after its return, a miracle happened. “Little Leg” had not returned alone. This summer he brought with him a female. Sanhaço’s female is slightly larger than the male. I also noticed that she sings less. The male usually sings more to get attention and also to show the others that a given place is his territory. With this I also came to believe that “Little Leg” had established my house as his territory. More specifically, my bedroom´s balcony.
I must also tell you that, as the female is a little larger and has long and robust legs, I decided to call her affectionately “Great Leg”.
And that’s how I started to have a couple of birds living with me, on my balcony. Every day “Great Leg” comes first. Then, “Little Leg” comes. Sometimes they come together and take turns to eat. However, “Little Leg” always lets “Great Leg” eats first. This simple gesture reminded me of a couple of dogs that I had and that have already left. Both lived with me for more than 16 years before dying. When some food were offered to them together, the dog always let the female eat first. This is the proof that there is delicacy in the males regarding to the females in all beings.
I can also tell you that this was not the first special experience I had with animals. But I assure you it has been one of the most rewarding. Likewise, it is the experience that I have recorded most intensively. Probably because my daily living with “Little Leg” and “Great Leg”. This coexistence has brought many joys and also profound teachings. But above all, it has matured even more the feeling I have about Nature and made me realize how much It insists to be loved.
Finally, I must say that in the beginning “Nina” (my dog) was a little strange about the presence of the birds on my balcony. Gradually I was insisting with her and showing that “Little Leg” and “Great Leg” were friends. Over time, her feeling about the birds became more for curiousity, though I still take some caution. Nowadays Nina and I have good times together, waiting for them arriving or leaving, to feed or to greet them.
This story does not end here. If Nature allows, It will bring many joys and teachings.