Parrots and Small Animals Sanctuary (1)

Winsome, Donita and Sandra continue walking through the park until they approach a fenced in area. The sign states, “Parrot Conservation and Research Centre Botanical Gardens.”

Donita:     This is what I really wanted to see!     
            (Continues reading.) “Dedicated to preserving   
            Dominica’s Wildlife.”
Sandra:     She is a real bird lover. You should see 
            all the birdhouses and birdbaths Donita has in  
            her yard!
Winsome:    Let’s go inside then. (They enter through 
            the gate.) Here you will find many beautiful and 
            interesting birds. Donita, if you name a bird   
            you might be able to find it here.
Donita:     The Mountain Dove?
Winsome:    Yes, it is here.
Donita:     I’m sure you don’t have Chicken Hawks in 
            this beautiful place.
Winsome:    Yes, it is here, also. Look over there.  
            (She points to a bird sitting in tree.)
Sandra:     Why are some of the birds caged while    
            others are flying about?
Winsome:    Good question! In the Gardens, you will  
            see the Sisserou Parrot, caged	because this is 
            not its’ natural habitat. By the way, this is   
            the national bird.
Donita:     This is truly a Bird Watchers paradise!
Sandra:     Can you recommend any books about the    
            birds here?
Winsome:    Yes, there is a very good one by James   
            Durand and Jim Baptiste, “Dominica’s Birds”.
Donita:     What’s the most unusual bird you have    
Winsome:    That’s a difficult question…. hmm.       
            There’s the Sikye, who some people call the     
            Bananquit. Then there’s the Green-throated      
            Carib, and the Carib Grackel, Or maybe the      
            Black-whiskered Vireo… There are just too many  
            to choose the most unusual.
Sandra:     So do these birds actually stay here all 
            year? None of them migrate?
Winsome:    Oh, yes, some of them do migrate. In     
            fact, some of these birds originally came from  
Donita:     Like which ones?
Winsome:    There’s the American Kestrel, the        
            Warbler, Barn Owl, the Sandpiper and others from 
            the migratory species. Even the Robin is not a  
            Caribbean native.
Sandra:     Maybe once they got here, they didn’t    
            want to leave. (Laughing)
Donita:     I can understand that! The aroma of the  
            flowers, the perfect weather… What a wonderful  
            place to live! It is going to be difficult to   
            leave here and go back home.
Winsome:    It is a beautiful place, but like        
            anywhere else, Dominica has had its’ problems,  
            too. A hurricane came through here in 1979 and  
            in eight hours this beautiful garden and the    
            surrounding area were destroyed.
Sandra:     How terrible! I’m very curious: how large 
            is the population? And how big is the island?
Winsome:    Roseau has a little over 14,000 people.  
            Dominica is 30 miles long and Sixteen miles     
            wide. Since you are a teacher, you might like to 
            know that it is built on the ancient Kalinago   
            Indian village of Sairi. It is the oldest and   
            most important settlement on the island. (They  
            continue strolling through the Garden.)
Donita:     I’d like to know more about the village.
Sandra:     Me, too.
Winsome:    I am happy to tell you more about it, but 
            first do you have any questions about this      
            section of the Garden?
Donita:     Are there any wild animals here?
Winsome:    (Laughing.) I don’t think you would like 
            to meet the wild animals that our famous on our 
Sandra:     Why do you say that?
Donita:     Are they dangerous?
Winsome:    There are twelve species of bats, the    
            wild pig, the Agouti and the Opossum. And yes,  
            some of them can be dangerous. 
Sandra:     What is an agouti?
Winsome:    It’s a large rodent, about the size of a 
            rodent with stripes. Both the agouti and the    
            opossum are all over the island and are hunted  
            during the open season.
Author: Torsten Daerr