Friday, May 25, 2012

Tweeter's Friends

Jambo (hello) wonderful grandchildren! I'm Zelda and my little friend is Tweeter. Tweeter and I just finished talking to your grandparents. Babu (grandfather) and Nyanya (grandmother) said to tell you they love you so much and miss all of you tons. 

Tweeter was just asking me to let him introduce to you some of his bird (ndege) friends, so I’m going to let him tell you all about them. 

Here’s Tweeter….

Jambo (hello) little ones! Habari Gani?  
(How are you doing?) Remember me? My name is Tweeter and I am a Yellow Billed Oxpecker, and though my beak is yellow with a red tip, I don’t always peck for bugs on oxen. In fact, I'll sit on anyone that won't eat me! 
My favorite place to sit is on Zelda. 
Zelda always thanks me and I get a free lunch!

I am one of over 1162 kinds of birds (ndege) that live in Kenya. So I would like you to kaa chini (have a seat) and meet some of my friends (rafiki). Your babu (grandfather) and I took these pictures of my friends and I want you to know that it wasn't very easy to get them to sit still. So sit back enjoy the show and maybe even learn a little of Kenya’s native language Swahili as well.

We bird’s (ndege) here in Kenya come in all shapes, sizes and colors. So from the biggest of my friends to some of the smallest here we go.

My first friend is Ollie the ostrich. He is the biggest, fastest, heaviest bird of all my friends. In fact he’s the biggest bird alive!  He can grow up to 9 feet tall, weigh up to 346 lbs and can run 43 miles an hour. I think he has very pretty eyes but looks aren’t everything …because  he can’t fly like me.

Next is Stan the Maribu Stork. We aren’t very good friends because the only reason Stan likes me is he wants to eat me. Stan is almost 5 feet tall, can weigh almost 20 pounds and stretch his wings out to 10 feet.

The only other bad thing about Stan is that he will eat anything… garbage, dead animals, shoes other birds and like I said…me if he catches me.

Then there are my beautiful flamingo friends. They are so graceful as they walk through the maji (water) to find algae and brine shrimp to eat. The big ones are called Greater Flamingos and their shorter brothers are called Lesser Flamingos. You can even tell by their beaks who’s who. The Greater Flamingos have pink beaks with black tips and the Lesser Flamingos have dark red beaks. 

They have to be very careful of the hyenas. Hyenas love to eat flamingos. Here is one now looking for a flamingo flat bread sandwich.

And then there are great the hunters like the Fish Eagle with his beautiful white head or his totally brown friend the Tawny Eagle. Mostly they hunt for fish. You will find them in the top of the trees looking at the lake for good fishing spots.

Your Babu (Grandfather) likes watching them go after the fish. With their sharp talons they can skoop up the fish before they know what happened.

I really do have lots of friends, like Harry the ‘Hadada Ibis’. He looks so pretty in the sunlight and when he talks it sounds like …ha-da-da!

Or Henry the ‘African Grey Hornbill’ who likes your kind of ceral too.

Now I have friends that are my size, and of course they’re not as pretty as me, but they do look nice.

Like Sam the ‘Superb Starling’ who I really do think looks superb…

You'll find Sam all around Nakuru and in other cities as well. He loves to walk around looking for scraps of food. 

Or his cousin Steve who is a ‘Ruppell’s Long Tailed Starling’…

We all live in different kinds of nest … like Wendy Lou Weaver the ‘Eastern Golden Weaver’.

She likes to take grass and reeds to  weave her little round house by lakes. 

Her cousin Wilinina, the Black faced Weaver doesn’t like the water but makes the same kind of house in the woods with all her friends.

The great eagle hunters like to build their big nest in trees bythe lake so they can see where the best place to fish is.

Oh, and I can’t leave out Peter the 'Pied Crow'. He is very noisy but always let’s you know if someone is coming.

There are so many more, but last but not least is one of my best and smallest friends. He is a tiny little ball of red called Freddy. Freddy’s a Red Billed Fire finch.  

Well I guess I got to go because all this story telling is making me hungry and I see a big fat fly (inzi) right next to Zelda’s ear.          Mmmm-mmm; good stuff!  

Here are all the Swahili words we learned this time. Practice them with mom and dad and you’ll be speaking like a Kenyan in no time.
Well thanks for learning about some of my friends. Zelda and I will see you next time.     Love Tweeter.                             
                                Swahili Words to Learn
Jambo… Hello
Habari Gani… How are you?
Babu…. Grandfather
Nyanya… Grandmother … and also means tomato.
Ndege …. Bird or birds
Maji …. Water
Rafiki … Friend
Kaa chini … Have a seat.
Fly … Inzi
Kwa heri …. Good bye!