Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bung's bingle

Coming home from Saturday morning shopping last weekend I came across a distressing scene. A family of a mum, dad and teenage daughter were standing in a circle in the street outside my house, looking down at a dead parrot on the roadway. Dad's two-tonne four-wheel-drive behemoth had collided with a five-ounce parrot, and not surprisingly, the parrot lost.

The poor young girl was terribly upset, so I told them not to worry. I wouldn't leave the poor dead bird out on the road. I'd bury it in my backyard and make sure it at least got treated with a bit of respect. That seemed to be all we could do, and so they parted with a mixture of sorrow and thanks.

Then, when I came out with my trusty shovel to scoop up the dead parrot, it sat up much in the way that someone who has just lost a boxing match sits up. Groggily. Wobbily. And so the bird I immediately christened 'Bung', due to his obviously bung wing and bung leg, entered Amateur Land for a brief stay.

Fast forward to the good news. Bung survived the night, and this is him the next day, perched in a rapidly fading canna lily (which is due for the midwinter cutback-to-the-ground next week) gnawing at the stem.

Bung's first couple of hours after his collision with the four-wheel-drive weren't too promising. Still sitting on the shovel, he was carried to some shade next to my shed, where I provided him with a dish of water. But he just sat there, stunned, unmoving. I kept an eye on him, and after a couple of hours he was still there, not having moved at all. I had to go out on some more errands, so I put him in my shed, still sitting there on my shovel. Two hours later I came home, and he was now walking around my shed, pooping pink parrot poo on my floor. And so I ushered him out into the garden, where he wandered about the seedlings unsteadily.

There are wildlife rescue groups around (here in Sydney the main one is called WIRES) and as I have friends in WIRES I know their quite sane policy is to euthanase injured birds with no hope of recovery and return to the wild. So there was no way I was sentencing Bung to a certain death! Maybe his wing was just bung, not broken? After a while I shephered Bung towards something more familiar, a flowering grevillea. As a nectar-feeding bird he'd know what to do once he got there.

The next morning he was happily feeding away, hopping from branch to branch. Plenty of food there, and if he got sick of red grevillea flowers he could pop across the path to feed on my yellowy-peachy-greenish 'Peaches and Cream' grevillea.

It seemed that Bung's wing was Bung, as Pam spotted him calmly walking the 15 feet from the red grevillea, down the central pathway and across to the other grevillea. As a wild thing he was very nervous about us, and a couple of times when startled he managed to fly a promising 10 to 15 feet. Maybe his wing was just injured, and not broken? We'll never know, but Bung stayed with us for four days, seeming to gain strength and mobility each day. And then suddenly he was gone. We do have local cats visiting our backyard, but if they managed to get at Bung I would have expected to find some evidence of their dirty work. I've looked everywhere and haven't found a thing. So we'll never know what happened to Bung.

Bung was a member of our large street tree community of rainbow lorikeets, who would have been audible to him at all times while he was recuperating in our backyard. Maybe he managed to fly the 100 feet to join them again? It seem unlikely, but maybe that's what happened. I've looked into the tree to spot one lorikeet with a wonky wing, but they all seem to be merely colourful but perfectly formed.

These rainbow lorikeets are certainly not an endangered species of bird. They're plentiful here in Sydney, many people would say 'too plentiful', and they're probably right. I thought I was just burying a dead parrot to ease a distressed young girl's feelings. I even chuckled to Pam that we had a 'dead parrot' a la Monty Python before I discovered that Bung wasn't dead.

And then when he sat up, suddenly I felt responsible. And I guess that's true. I planted the flowering street tree. I planted the grevilleas to attract native birds, too. And so as a gardener I play quite an interventionist role in nature, seemingly for both good and bad in equal measure, no matter how good my intentions.


islandgardener said...

Such a lovely, lovely bird...let's hope he flew off and made it! Janet

charlotte said...

I think the 4WD behemoth was more responsible than you. What those cars are doing in the inner city I will never know.

Ewa said...

What a story. Luckily parrot was not so much dead as in Monty Python.
I feel so happy for it and I also vote for behemoth to be more responsible.
Thanks to your heart we could see and feel the story of surviving parrot, which I am grateful for.
Greetings from Poland,

Michael said...

Hi Jamie
I used to live in house with tinted windows and as a consequence they were quite reflective. This must have deceived the birds as they always seemed to flying into them. It was quite common to hear a large crash as one flew into it at high speed. From time to time you would find one sitting underneath recovering before it eventually flew away. I never found a dead one though.

Sounds to me like Bung was just recovering. I'm sure he's back to his old self again doing what lorikeets normally do.
Cheers Michael

Jenny said...

He's gorgeous. I'm glad you had four days with him. Sometimes it is better off not knowing what happened to him, & the next time one of those rainbow lorikeets stays in your garden for slightly longer, you will know that it is him & he is greatful for such a safe haven

Mia said...

Stumbled on this... but couldn't help but comment. What a lovely story. It really warms my heart to know there are kind spirited people out there helping out the little guys. Thank you for posting!

Ela from Poland said...

Wow...amazing bird and a lovely story