So can I first just say that it was hard to let this little bird go? I definitely got attached to him, and I think it was mostly because he treated both Evan and I as parental figures. Each time we passed by his box and looked in, there would be a mouth open and exciting chirping for food. One day, we both had to go to the island for work, so we brought him along since he needed to be fed every few hours.
It was amazing to watch his transformation from a frightened, weak little bird into this beautiful creature that you see in the last photo. This was taken on the day that we released him. We noticed that he would try to fly from his box, and would sometimes find him perched on the top ledge. This was wonderful, because we were interpreting it as a sign that he was ready to try to leave the nest.
So we brought him outside, put his box on the ground and let him decide when he was ready. It took a few minutes, but he eventually hopped to the ledge and perched. Of course, it was actually Sophie who prompted him to fly when she approached as a interested dog. Pitirre (we called him that or just simply "bird") flew to a tree and remained there for an hour at least.
We grew to know his song and could identify him wherever he moved in the trees around our house. We followed the sound for a few hours while we worked at home, telling each other "oh I hear him back there behind the house" or "he's moved over to that mango tree next door" and eventually to "oh look, he's right back here by the house, I can see him!". That was an exciting afternoon to find him right back near where we released him. He would cock his head to the side and peer down at us - in what we hoped was recognition, but that might be assuming a lot.
However, the most interesting and amazing part of this story is what happened a few days later. Evan went for a morning run at the beach and heard Pitirre on his way. He stopped and looked up and found him amongst some other smaller, juveniles just like him. They were perched on electrical wires overhead, and Pitirre was distanced from the other two. He noticed two parent birds bringing food to the other babies, but that Pitirre was left out, just watching and hoping to be included. Evan continued on his run and came back to the house to get me. So we walked back down and by that time, Pitirre had joined the others and we saw the two parent birds supply him with food as well. It brought such a smile to our faces that he was welcomed into another brood. How amazing is it that this little bird could be nurtured back to health by two humans, and then return to the wild and pick up right where he left off?
It's been a week now and I don't hear him in our trees as often. I think I've even lost some of the recognition of his song, it has blended together with the others. But I suppose that's the way it should be and I'm thankful that he's safe and strong and ready to take on the world here in Rincon.