The following is a guest post by Rhonda Cho and edited by Lisa Cho.
One day I was sitting on the deck of Red Mangrove Aventura lodge, enjoying the sunshine and a tall cold glass of fresh mango juice. I wasn’t the only one enjoying the scenery. The marine iguanas were sunning themselves on the deck, the salty lightfoot crabs scurrying among the rocks, and the sea lions lazing on the lounge chairs.
The breeze blew across the table, and along came a finch. It was a lovely gray color, covered in tiny feathers and with a petite, well-formed beak. After hopping around shyly, it landed squarely on my glass, just inches away!
For two minutes it perched on the rim, dipping its head into the glass as it drank the mango juice. You shouldn’t feed the animals in the Galapagos, but what do you do if they take your food without asking? My husband Howard watched with some amusement, and then started laughing. Sometimes in the Galapagos, you just have to go with it. After two minutes, it flew off as abruptly as it had come, perhaps to try the mora (blackberry) juice, or the salad bar.
It makes for a good laugh, now, sitting at home in California, where the birds seem much shyer and wary of humans. I do not know if the Galapagos finches are now domesticated, or they simply evolved no fear of humans after eons of extreme isolation from the rest of the world. And of course, I will never know the finch’s primary motivation for stealing my drink. Was it thirsty? Did it simply want to get a closer look at us? Or like me, did it have a special sweet tooth for fresh mango juice?
Rhonda Cho is a retired court reporter who lives in Ojai, California. She made her first trip to the Galapagos and Ecuador in September 2013 with my dad Howard and I.