“I was trailing a raptor (Crested Goshawk) in primary forest adjacent to a stream when I almost stepped on this adult female Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella pulchella).
“She appeared dazed and was extensively covered in ants. I did not bother much with images (so images here are taken later when I had some time) and enabled her to move further on the rocky riverside surface, away from the mass of ants.
“The above image shows the bird with ants and nictitating membrane in place. The image below shows she had closed the external eyelids as she was getting bitten in the eye.
“I suspect what had happened was a cerebral concussion due to a collision, followed by an unlucky plunge into a tree full of nesting small red ants. These ants were also present in many other trees and much of the ground area we were in.
“I decided that the best attempt to rescue her was to douse her and the surrounding area with the very cold water from the stream. I hoped this would discourage the ants and also work, like in my Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as cooling therapy for the brain (used to reduce cerebral oedema in newborns). I spent the next 1.5 hours working on this periodically, using hands, leaves and improvised containers. I was aware that I should not allow hypothermia to develop, so doused her and the surrounding area periodically, keeping a sharp eye on her responsiveness.
“She did not initially like my approach, but after a while, when ants subsided, she was more accommodating. After 30-40 minutes she appeared more alert and I kept up the ‘therapy’ more to keep ants at bay. She could flutter a few feet and the wings did not look broken. I was not keen to put her up on a tree as the raptor was present and she was better camouflaged on the ground under the river bank. I also choose not the take her home as she was recovering.
“The images above and below show the bird recovering well.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
30th June 2014
Location: Kledang-Sayong Forest Reserve, Ipoh.
Habitat: Trail through primary forest
“Just for the record, I would say that this is a juvenile female judging by the relatively heavy barring on the underparts, extensively dark upper mandible and the pale tip to the bill. Lets hope she recovers and survives well.” – Krys Kazmierczak