June 20: There's No Place Like Home
Today saw an early rise for this family foursome. The monkeys all awoke a little before 6:30, but hung around the nest box and food tray for a while. Samba and Gisela kept the family close to home for the day, as they both seemed a little scared and hesitant after their falls the previous day, and can anyone blame them? The family took the day to lounge around and just rest. It's almost as if Laranja and Eduardo were content to stay close to home for this second day in anticipation of the hard work that lay ahead carrying and looking after the little ones.
While most of the day was spent close to the nest box, old habits were not forgotten by Laranja and Eduardo. I'm sure all of our returning volunteers remember Eduardo's love for Holly Hill last season. Well, he has not lost this passion and already scurried up tree 5 straight for his old crossing path to what he views as a greener pasture. Eduardo stopped short of crossing, however, as he heard the cries of his baby girls. Samba and Gisela were back in the nest box calling for dad to return. It was at this moment that we began to suspect that these two are daddy's girls. Being the fantastic dad that he is, Eduardo heard their cries and faithfully came back to soothe his girls.
Eduardo's halted mad dash for Holly Hill was not the only venture away from the nest box. Both Eduardo and Laranja made their way down to tree 9, where there is a tree hole on the back side. They did not travel down to the old favorite together, but each went separately, Eduardo in the later morning and Laranja in early afternoon. Each one checked out this old hiding place, crawling up and down the outside of the tree and poking their heads into the tree hole a few times. Both also went inside to check things out for a brief period before being called back to the nest box, where Samba and Gisela waited.
It was another early night for the family as they began to settle down for the evening at around 3 p.m., not leaving the nest box, except for a few hops by Eduardo to his perch just outside the nest box. At around 4, the family began resting a lot and was pretty much out for the night by 5.
June 21: The Twins Are Three Months Old!
It was an even earlier morning for this group today, but a little more action came with this rise. When Jennifer came in at about 6:15 a.m., Eduardo and Laranja were both already up and out of the nest box. The babies were up as well, but still hanging out inside the box. Laranja was close to the nest box, sitting just outside on a branch, but the adventure bug had bitten Eduardo and he was sitting up in the hemlock near the fence on Tamarin Run to the right of tree 4. He wasn't getting himself into any mischief, but rather was just sitting enjoying the early morning sun. Eduardo stayed in the hemlock for a while, but eventually made his way back to Laranja and the kids back at the nest box.
To celebrate the twins' three-month birthday and their third day outdoors, they mustered up the courage to venture beyond tree 0 once again and partake in mom and dad's adventures for the day. Around 8:30 a.m. Eduardo and Laranja started heading for tree 9 again with a gleam in their eyes of what lay inside the wonderful tree hole. The twins seemed a little hesitant, not sure they wanted to follow behind mom and dad. Their falls over the course of the past couple of days were still fresh on the mind, but mom and dad's absence was disconcerting. The babies had a choice to make: either follow mom and dad, be brave, and stay in the nest box alone, or cry and hope that mom or DAD comes back to retrieve you. Let's all guess which action the babies chose... cry and hope a parent comes back. The girls were quickly learning that dad is a fabulous parent and that he comes running whenever he hears his girls' cry. Sure enough, Eduardo came running back to the nest box, however, instead of grabbing both girls and carrying them to tree 9, he took only Gisela. Presumably she gets carried more because she is a little smaller than Samba and because she cries more. Poor Samba was left to fend for herself once again. Samba cried for a while but soon she realized that she was going to have to walk all by herself if she wanted to get to tree 9 to be with the rest of the family.
Laranja had also come back when she heard her girls crying and waited for Samba, almost coaxing her along to make it from one rope to the next until they arrived safe and sound at tree 9. Laranja would run from one tree to the next along the interconnecting ropes stopping and waiting at each tree for Samba to catch up. It took about five minutes for Laranja and Samba to finally catch up to the rest of the group.
Once everyone was there, they all explored the outside of the tree a bit, climbing up and down, and sticking their heads in and out of the tree hole, until they all finally went inside, where they remained for about two hours. You might ask, What were they doing inside? We're not sure because we cannot see inside, but they probably took a little morning siesta or were shopping for a new home.
Around 11:45 a.m. the family briefly graced us with their presence as they came out of the tree hole and headed back to their nest box, where they hung out for a while and grabbed a bite to eat. Eduardo again carried Gisela, and Samba followed Laranja with some difficulty but thankfully she made it back to the box just fine on her own. The nest box wasn't entertaining for long because at 1:45 Laranja began making her way back to tree 9. Soon Eduardo, Samba and Gisela were all following. This was the first day the twins really started to move around on their own, Samba more than Gisela, and it was great! Tree 9 was a good place to go for their first major voyage, as it's not too far from home and not a terribly difficult jaunt. Unfortunately for our volunteers this trip back down to tree 9 was disappointing because shortly after the family arrived at the tree they disappeared into the tree hole and were not seen again that evening. The family slept here for the night. Had they found a new home? Was the nest box no longer an appealing option? Stay tuned to find out.
June 22: Rest Up, Everyone, Tomorrow's a Vacation
The GLTs started peeking out of the tree hole at about 6:30 a.m. Once hunger set in, the whole family made its way back to the food tray near the nest box. Laranja led the way back using the ropes, and Samba followed not too far behind. This was the first big venture for Samba, and she made it back with no help from Eduardo or Laranja. Gisela, on the other hand, was not willing to make it back on her own. She kept calling with her infant rasp and Eduardo was quick to respond. He went over, put her on his back, and carried her back home.
The rest of the day after this venture home was pretty uneventful as the family spent the entire rest of the day in the nest box, occasionally coming out to get some food or a bit of fresh air. You know vacationing can take a lot out of you. I guess one's own bed at home offers a better night's sleep.
June 23: Vacation Home, Anyone?
After a night of thunderstorms, the family decided to sleep in. Around 6:45 a.m., the monkeys emerged from the lower level of their nest box for a peek at the outside. Soon after they woke, they went out to get some breakfast from their nearby food tray.
At around 8:15 a.m. it was off to the hemlock trees near the right corner of Tamarin Run (Grid S2), but only for a moment before heading back to the nest box about half an hour later. Then around 10:15 a.m. it was off to the bromeliad in tree 5, followed by a jaunt over to the hemlocks again. Samba showed off her new skills as a free-ranging monkey as she was moving around the branches really well compared to earlier in the week. She chewed on some bark and jumped around in the hemlocks finally taking in the fantastic free range experience. Perhaps the trip down to tree 9 helped boost her confidence and taught her some balancing skills. While Samba's tree-navigating skills have improved she did frequently use the ground to cross when there was not an easy path between trees.
Samba is not the only one who decided to come down to the ground today. Eduardo took a foraging break in a familiar hole in some rocks on the ground to the left of tree 3 and behind tree 4. Last season he had foraged in this hole a few times, and has remembered this perfect foraging spot.
Gisela fell once today, but found her way to a tree nearby and climbed back up. Other than this fall she had been doing very well today in terms of her mobility through the trees. However, the family decided to visit its vacation home again this evening, and Gisela suddenly decided that she could not travel there herself. She insisted on being carried over there by crying and finally Eduardo did indeed carry her to tree 9.The family made its way over to the tree hole at around 2:45 p.m. Laranja led the way, so we know who enjoys the vacation home the most, as she also led the way Wednesday night. The rest of the family followed her and again spent the night there. The GLTs poked their heads out a few times until about 4:45 p.m., but then they were in for the night.
June 24: Hemlock Heaven
At 6:50 a.m. we all knew that the family had survived another night in the tree hole, as Eduardo and Laranja ventured out to start the day. For about an hour the family hung tight at tree 9, moving around a bit and exploring, but not venturing back to the nest box immediately. Finally at about 8 a.m., everyone headed back to the nest box to eat a little and check out the nest box. It wasn't long though before Eduardo got the Holly Hill gleam in his eyes again when he headed up to tree 5. He briefly stopped here as he longingly gazed over at the glistening holly trees. In no time he suddenly scurried up tree 5, going up, up, up, and bouncing all around. Laranja quickly followed him, shortly followed by the girls. This seemed to be a turning point for Gisela, while she was occasionally carried by dad, she climbed up to the top herself, though she was occasionally carried by dad and she began moving around some of the branches way up top all by herself. She was finally learning a bit of independence like her little explorer sister.
The whole family spent about 20 minutes running around different branches up in tree 5, though Eduardo did the most exploring. It appeared that Eduardo may have been trying to find a passage where it would be easy for the twins to cross over. We think he remembers how to cross because he has climbed up the old branch he used to take to cross over to Holly Hill. He climbed this branch today, but never made the cross. He kept going up and then coming down and going back up a new branch, and so forth for approximately 15 minutes. He finally jumped from tree 5 into the black walnut to the left of tree 5 that has a rope going from it to tree 8. This tree is our preferred tree for the family to cross over in; we hope Eduardo eventually learns to take this rope up that tree instead of jumping into it from tree 5. While the babies could do this jump he did today, they may miss if they get scared or nervous, which would not be good, as the jump is directly over the asphalt walkway of Tamarin Run. Once Eduardo completed this jump and started heading towards Holly Hill, there is a branch that leads from this black walnut directly into some branches of a tree on Holly Hill, a squirrel came near the babies and Laranja and the babies started crying for him to come back. It took him a while to decide what to do. He seemed to be contemplating his freedom on Holly Hill or going back for the kids. Finally after a few minutes he decided to be good old dad and went back to his crying girls. We again escaped another day without anyone crossing over. Wheeew! We want them to cross, but we just want to make sure the babies are comfortable enough to make the jump.
After this little exploration, it was back to the nest box for a little rest and then on to the next adventure. It was back to the hemlocks this late morning. The kids really seem to like these hemlocks, frequently using them as a playground. What day isn't complete without a little exercise? Today was Gisela's day to really open up a bit and start moving around more on her own. She and Samba spent a lot of time running, climbing, and jumping in the branches of these trees, occasionally foraging and resting. Mom and dad spent some time grooming, resting, and exploring. There were a couple of ventures down to tree 3 and a hemlock closer to that tree (Grid T3). The family spent a couple hours lounging and playing here and then headed back to the nest box a bit early. Around 1:30 p.m. it was off to the nest box to rest, where the family spent the rest of the day. The GLTs slept in their cooler home this evening instead of their vacation home, though it was a late night for the little ones, comfortably huddled in the nest box but still awake when the 5-7 p.m. watchers left that evening.
June 25: Let It Pour
It was a slow start this morning as it rained and rained and rained! The entire family woke late, getting up at about 7:15 a.m. We saw a little movement right before Eduardo came bounding up from below, immediately running to the door of the nest box. When he arrived at the door he appeared to be a little disheartened because of the heavy rain. It was as if he were so excited to start the day, but his plans were spoiled when he saw the soaked world outside. So the GLTs waited and waited and waited for the rain to stop so they could come outside and explore.
It seems the babies are finally adjusting to the exhibit and the great outdoors, and they were ready to go out and play some more today. After hours in the nest box, the babies became restless, wrestling and playing with each other. Cabin fever! Their playing finally got Eduardo to venture out of the nest box around 12:45 p.m. and this seemed to initiate the beginning of the day outside.
It was back to the hemlocks today, where the family spent most of the day lounging and playing. Not only are these hemlocks a great playground for the twins, but they are a fabulous place for visitors and us volunteers to see the monkeys up close. Since this is fairly close to the walkway, we have up stanchions with tape to add some distance between the monkeys and the visitors. We want the tamarins to feel safe in this area, so maintaining the ten-foot distance is really important. The day in these trees was pretty active, with the babies climbing up and down and all around the branches, jumping with ease from tree to tree. It was very obvious today how comfortable the kids are becoming with the exhibit and wobbly tree branches. Of course, just as we thought all was well, Samba may have gotten a little too confident and careless when she fell. Now all the falls since her first big one on the day of release have been OK because she and her sister have bounced right back up and generally run to the nearest tree. Once in a tree, they either climb right up or wait for mom or dad to come get them. Eduardo has been quick to respond coming to retrieve them. Today's fall was another story, however. When Samba fell out of the small holly tree very near the front of the exhibit, instead of running to the nearest tree, she instead frantically ran all over the ground and came darting toward the fence near the video kiosk. There was a little boy standing right in front of the fence in the exact spot Samba was making a mad dash for. When she got to the fence she saw the kid, screamed, and then ran the other way. She finally made her way to a tree underneath the zero-to-four rope, slowly climbed up, and made her way back onto the rope where Eduardo was waiting for her. Finally, safe and sound.
I'm not sure the boy even knew what had just happened—it all happened so quickly. Thankfully, Jennifer had been standing right next to the boy as Samba ran toward him and she was able to get him to move back. We weren't sure if Samba was going to try and run through the fence, as she is tiny enough to fit through the mesh or climb up it. Fortunately, the fence and probably the boy stopped her from doing this. Afterward, Jennifer told the little boy what Samba's name was so that he could share this story with all of his friends. What an exciting day at the Zoo for him. This was a good reminder why it is important to stay back from the fence when the tamarins are nearby and also to keep a close eye on them when they hit the ground!
After all of this excitement, the family finally decided to head back to the nest box at about 4 p.m. A few minutes later, everyone was inside and only came out or poked a head out the door every now and then. Apparently, Sunday night is not a vacation night. At least this Sunday was not.
The GLTs have had a busy but very exciting week! It won't be long before they decide to head over to Holly Hill finally and then I'm sure the real fun will begin. That's all for now, folks, but please stayed tuned to see what adventures the family takes next week. Will it be the vacation home, Holly Hill, or some other fun new jaunt?!!