I WAS only few hundred metres from home on my daily walk. Two birds flew across my eyes swiftly. It felt like an arrow. They were so fast, but I managed to identify that a wattle bird was chasing an eastern rosella. I was in awe of their speed and admiring their nimble flying ability.
Next second I heard a heavy thud. The eastern rosella hit the wall of a house and with a dull sound fell to the ground near the rainwater tank. It didn’t move for a good few minutes. It was hard to tell from the distance but one of its wings seemed damaged.
Satisfied with the chase, the wattle bird was long gone, had flown away from the scene. Here I was hopelessly left alone with the possibly injured bird, with no clue what to do to save this tiny creature. One thing was clear. I couldn’t keep on walking as if I hadn’t witnessed anything. I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. I felt an urge at least to tell someone to offload my laden chest. Witnessing the fallen bird was simply too weighty for me to carry. Luckily Rob was home, working on our front garden so I returned home to tell him what I had just witnessed. I realised I was quite upset when I was telling him about the poor bird.
The day after, we found a little swallow on the deck of our back garden. He sat motionless at the base of the bench leg. His left wing drooped. It was a cold rainy day, and I wished I were able to shelter the bird from the elements. We were puzzled how on earth the bird ended up there as we didn’t hear any sound of the bird hitting the glass door that morning. He may have been exhausted from his long journey or was just stunned like the other bird.
Honestly it was little too much for me to bear. To see wounded birds two days in a row caused me anguish. Although the stunned bird yesterday flew away miraculously, this little one didn’t seem to have much luck, I thought. I started thinking about where I should bury him in our garden. The bird seemed too weak, and its life force was fading away in the cold rain. Five or ten minutes had passed. It was still at the same spot, unmoving. The fragile wing still sagged weakly.
Because the double glazed glass door to the deck was closed I could observe the bird without frightening him too much. I decided to spend some time with this wounded bird. I lay flat on my belly and brought my eye level with the bird. His sharp eyes surprised me. His body wasn’t moving much but certainly he was alert, watching any threat coming his way. He turned his head around and steadily observed his environment with his clear eyes. He constantly reacted to other birdcalls, too. He didn’t seem to mind melodious songs of blackbirds or butcherbirds but when a raven called his body stiffened up.
As I lay low I wondered what’s going on in his brain to sustain this precious life. The alertness in his eyes somehow made me think he may be all right. I left him alone for a few minutes. When I came back I noticed the left wing was now tucked under his body. He managed to pull his wing back in. It was a good sign. This tiny creature was restoring his energy. I kept him company for a while then went back to the kitchen. Next time I returned he was gone.
Birds, those beautiful winged creatures, ought to fly as they belong to the free sky.