This post is literally pulled from my journal from my time volunteering at the La Senda Verde Animal Rescue Centre in Bolivia.
Turning to close the toilet door today placed me face to face with my stalker, Pimienta, the black spider monkey who chased me across the river last week was back with a vengeance.
I suddenly realised she had been hanging off the window watching me the whole time.
The minute you look at her she starts giving you an evil stare and sneering at you.
I had hoped that this would be my last encounter with her today but alas when I went back a few hours later I looked up next to the window by the sink and there she was again!
On the way back to the restaurant I walked past Ouvia, an adult spider monkey female.
When they want to hitch a ride they will put their hand out to you and walk/drag you along by holding your hand with their hands and tail and then sometimes swing up onto you.
This was the first time an adult spider monkey had done this to me and as she clambered onto my shoulder like the Capuchin monkeys do I suddenly realised just how big the spider monkeys are in comparison.
Walking hunched over under the weight of her sitting proudly on my shoulder with her tail wrapped around my neck and hands half covering my eyes I walked towards the restaurant trying to coax her onto a tree.
Failing that I kept walking and when one of the local workers walked past in hysterics are seeing me trying to stay balanced with this massive monkey on my shoulder I realised how funny it must look.
Eventually she jumped down when I sat down but I am defiantly going to try and stick to letting the babies jump onto my from now on.
There are many birds here at La Sende Verde of all different shapes and sizes and most of them fall under the category of being Amazonian Parrots.
There are also majestic but irate macaws, both blue and yellow and red and green with the former constantly in a cranky mood.
Even though we feed them twice a day and provide enrichment for them they seem intent on harassing us.
Beautiful on the outside they are fiercely territorial, especially when they pair up and start nesting and I was chased out of the clinic by one that has decided that the entrance to the clinic was its territory.
Having had a macaw latch onto my shoe was a terrifying experience but they are not all that bad.
When I was on the bird rotation I found one in particular that loved to chase me whilst I raked out the cages, after a few days I realised that he wasn’t being aggressive but simply playful and so it turned into a fun game where he would chase the rake back and forth as I swept.
Enrichment also works wonders and one day I was able to have them so calm that they were leaving the other birds in cages alone and letting us feed everyone without trying to steal food.
We try to free as many birds as possible but those who cant fly because their wings are clipped have to be in cages and a group of macaws have claimed the top of the cages as their territory.
There is also a rare and beautiful Toucan named Senor Sam with a white, blue and yellow beak.
Caged because otherwise he would try and eat some of the free birds as part of his natural diet in the wild he is my favourite bird to feed.
As part of his enrichment food is thrown to him and he catches it from wherever he decides to sit.
Some days he will come right down onto a branch around eye level, but other days it turns into a game where he wont come down or will constantly change his position in his large enclosure.
For myself this becomes a massive challenge because I am not the best thrower and often I will try and coax him down closer to me so that I don’t waste too much food by missing constantly.
Stunning with his glossy black plumage I could sit for hours and just watch him as he flys around and splashes around in his bird bath.
All of the Amazonian Parrots are beautiful but there is one in particular that deserves mention.
Mr Bean loves to hang around the restaurant and prep room both because the food is located there and so are humans.
Nicknamed the stalker, you will hear a desperate flap of wings before he appears on your shoulder to hitch a ride or to simply hang out.
He seems to appear everywhere I go and it can be hard to get him off.
He loves human interaction and numerous times a day you will hear ‘oh, Mr Bean’ as he lands on someones shoulder just as they try to go into the prep room or run past to feed one of the animals.
He also looks different to the other parrots and after being stuck in a small cage and becoming distressed he pulled out a lot of his feathers.
Just like biting your nails it became a habit and after a year here he still pulls out this feathers even though he is now one of the happiest birds in Bolivia.