Farmer gets extra income catching baby birds
Albert Nelson stands by the roadside in Gutters, St Elizabeth, with a pair of baldpate birds in a crinkly mesh wire cage.
The birds, he said, are six weeks old and were taken from their nest in the Don Figueroa Mountains.
Nelson took the young birds from their nests before they started to grow feathers and has been caring for them since then.
For the birds to survive, the farmer, in true bird-feeding style, puts water in his mouth and sticks the birds’ small beaks into it for them to get nourishment.
“Dem grow very quick when you give them the chicken feeding,” Nelson said.
The St Elizabeth farmer is seeking to get $3,000 for the pair of birds, known also as White-crowned Pigeons, one of the varieties which will be hunted when the 2016 bird shooting season starts tomorrow.
Nelson said that in order to catch the birds, he would watch the adult birds carrying straws in their beaks during nesting season. When the nest is made, Nelson says he keeps up his monitoring until the eggs are laid. The young birds are taken shortly after they are hatched.
“Because other things wi destroy dem, we tek dem before dem even start feather, because by the time dem put on feather, rat going to eat dem, mangoose going to eat dem, wild puss and owl,” he said.
Nelson said that while farmers do not hunt the birds to make a living, it offers an added source of income because he is sometimes able to sell up to six pairs during the hatching season.
“People like dem bird dem, and they raise them as pets,” he said.