A STRANGE and surreal story. I was woken last week by the screeching of birds. Such a cacophony that I had to put two pillows over my head. But it wouldn’t stop.
I glanced up to see that my cat, usually the cause, was asleep. Suddenly I heard my cleaning lady, Eva, cry: “Ruth, what is it?” She was shaken, standing on the veranda of my little Bondi house. “Ruth… it moved,” she said, nervously pointing at what looked to be a large, stuffed toy perched at my front door. She’s from Hungary and had not seen anything like it before.
It was a tawny frogmouth – a nocturnal bird often mistaken for an owl.
Neckless, and with a massive beak, it looked very odd. Blackbirds and others were swooping but it had somehow made its way under my balcony. The high winds had blown it down during the night, and although a bird of prey, daylight had rendered it vulnerable.
From my years in Byron Bay I knew I needed to call wildlife rescuers WIRES. Within two hours, permanent volunteer Barry was holding the distressed bird in his capable hands. “It’s fine. Keep it here till dark then let it back out into the trees. They have mates. The mate would be circling up there waiting desperately for it.” At nightfall I stood with the cage open and watched it spread its wings and fly.
WIRES handles over 150,000 calls a year in NSW and is affiliated with groups in other states that are equally committed to saving animals that have been maimed by cars or hurt, often by human interaction.
I asked Barry what I could do to help. And here it is. They’ve just lost one of their two vans due to lack of funding. The NSW-based group needs $100,000 a year to keep the rescue van on the road. With 98 per cent of funding coming from private donations, the volunteer organisation relies heavily on public support. With the end of financial year drawing nigh, it would be wonderful if my readers could give a tax-deductible pledge at 1300 094 737 or www.wires.org.au.
Counterparts include Sydney Wildlife at: http://www.sydneywildlife.org.au Wildlife Victoria, and Wildcare Australia in Queensland. Meanwhile for non-native birds and animals many other groups like RSPCA need our help.
Have you had the joy of saving an animal?
Please share your stories and inspire us all to donate to animal welfare causes (most are tax deductible) as the financial year comes to an end.