This is the right-now view I have from my desk in my writing studio.
Sulphur-crested cockatoos are native to Southern parts of Australia, and together with many colourful parrots, lorikeets, brush turkeys and other native birds, have entertained us since arriving in Australia 18 months ago. My first encounter with the large cockatoos was on my first day of arrival, when something that sounded like (and cast a shadow big enough to be) a pterodactyl flew overhead, scaring the bejewels out of us. They can be quite aggressive and raucous birds, many of my neighbours consider them a pest.
This morning we buried a large rainbow lorikeet in a quick ceremony to placate my daughter. I’d found the poor guy out the front door two days ago, obviously having flown into something and broken a foot or leg. I had had to look up for advice on the situation on the net, and put him into a box for warmth and to stop him moving around. That night, despite his protest, I even hand fed him, holding him up to feed from a little pot of nectar we have out for them. Lorikeets don’t eat seed – they have a brush-like tongue which sips up nectar. Supplementary feeding involves skim milk powder, perhaps some egg, and sugar water.
The guy survived the night, and into the next day, when I was able to ring the local vet for advice. I was told to bring the bird in. They would assess whether he really did have a broken leg, and if so, would euthanise him, it was the only option. I plotted how to deliver the news to my daughter, who was at school. But she’s had a lot of pets, she was used to the visit of death to our household from an early age, I was sure she could take it, should the bad news be delivered.
Sadly, we didn’t have the opportunity to visit the vet with the hope he would be alright. When fetching him to go, he had already died, his body still slightly warm, so I was only a few minutes late. But I was pretty sure that his foot had been broken anyway, he just moved his fate along quicker than expected. My daughter insisted on the ceremony, and a few tears have been passed for him also.
The cockatoos outside my office doors have finished their morning feasting for now. Or rather, they’ve managed to get too greedy, and knocked the sunflower seed bell off the deck and onto the ground below. Watching them, I have witnessed the true derivative of the term ‘pecking order’. The smaller and baby birds had to wait in line before larger birds had finished. Survival of the fittest, or is it just the largest?
Last week my optometrist advised me to rest my eyes from the keyboard and monitor and focus more often at something more at a distance. This would help retrain my dwindling (aging) eyesight into a quicker focus-turnaround, she said. So basically a medical professional gave me strict instructions to distract myself from my writing tasks with bird-watching. In England they have a name for such bird-watchers or train or plane spotters – we tend to be called ‘anoraks’.
What view do you allow yourself from your own writing tasks?