I sent the other half out to water the plants while I did some stuff in the kitchen. Maybe 10 minutes later he was knocking on the door, so when I went to see what was going on he pointed out a little bird that was hiding among the pots to me which was not well – it looked injured.
So we have these fantastic volunteer groups in Australia which take in injured wildlife and take care of them, hoping to release them into the wild. While the other half got the bird and put it into a box with a blanket, I got on the phone to find out where to take it.
It’s times like this where I realise I’m not as country as I think I am. First, the directions which were given to me did not even include a street number. It was basically – past the SES, then past some bushy land, then you go over a bridge, and it’s the first white picket fence after the bridge, just before you start to go uphill.
The reason we were sent here was because it was supposedly closer than the other place she was going to give me directions to. I politely did not mention that I once held an injured emu on my lap for 30kms until we could get it to a vet and the place she was telling me to go was way less than that!
A moment for the emu story – we were driving up from Adelaide and about 30kms out of Hay we found a emu sitting in the middle of the road. We actually had a full car loaded with stuff which we were bringing up here because we were moving. The LCD tv was on the back seat covered in a blanket, but the other half and I cared little about grabbing it to wrap the emu in and we picked it up off the road because there were cars around.
She seemed to know we were trying to help her. We didn’t know how injured she was and if it had been badly I don’t know what we would have done but it just looked like a small graze and she seemed to be in shock, and there was no way we were leaving her by the side of the road to die. I was worried that she might have broken a leg. If that was the case they generally don’t try to help them, they just put them down. Emus only have two legs. We knew enough about emus to know it was a she.
So the other half looked at me and said what do we do, and I said well, let’s take it to the vet, there will be a vet in Hay I’m sure. He said, but the car is full, where will we put her? I said, on my lap I guess. He looked at me and said – You know, Emu’s can be really nasty creatures, she might start to peck you. I looked the emu in the eye and it looked back at me, and I said nah, it’ll be fine. I can’t really describe that moment, it’s just that I knew it would be ok.
So I got in the car, he put the emu on my lap, and these aren’t small birds, you guys. This thing would have easily weighed 20kgs, so it was heavy. She was all wrapped up so it couldn’t try to stand up, and she was resting her neck on my arm and looking at the other half. I had both arms around it to keep it from falling off my lap. Her head was over near the other half, and she was looking around quite calmly, and at one point she put her head on the other half’s shoulder.
We dropped her off at the vet in Hay, and called back a week later, the emu was going well and back on her feet, they knew who owned her because she was from an emu farm, and she was going back to them soon.
It was a somewhat life changing experience, and I wanted to work with wildlife after that, but so far I haven’t actually done it – I don’t really have the right situation at home because of the two cats. And the animal shelter haven’t got back to me either. I’m going to have to get onto that I think.
So I hope the little bird survives. I don’t know how it got injured but maybe a cat got it. Being a cat owner who has two cats that are indoor only for their safety as well as the wildlife and meaning no offense to anyone reading this, I find it difficult to understand people that can let their loved pets go out – there’s snakes, there’s cars, there’s heaps of dangerous things but worst of all, what of the damage their animals can do to the native wildlife?
I once lost a cat to a snake bite. He crawled all the way home, and he almost made it. For two days we looked everywhere for him, I was very upset, then a housemate discovered him in the long grass, fur matted with grass seeds as he had struggled to get back to us and to safety and that was the moment I decided that future cats would be indoor animals from then on. He was less than 20 metres from the front porch where I had sat calling him and wondering where the heck he could be.