Today was gloomy and wet, reluctantly I got dressed and headed for the ATM machines down my street. I went down one side to pick up my mail, and just before I stepped out to the street, I heard a squeak coming from behind me. I turned around and darted my eyes searching for it’s owner. At first I couldn’t make out what was squeaking. Then when I attempted to walk towards the sound, I found a lump of brown fury thing on the ground. When I got close enough to really see what I had found, I started to panic. That poor baby bird. It appeared to be frightened, and tired. (Not my first encounter with wild birds)
It wasn’t tiny, so I knew it cannot be the common tree sparrow, but it’s beak wasn’t hooked so it may not be the eagle either… which I first thought it was. However, after checking the HK Bird watch site, I gathered that it is most likely a baby spotted dove.
I looked at it for a while, there was no blood, nothing broken (as it spread it’s wings once or twice) so it didn’t appeared to be injured. Just very tired, disorientated, frightened and probably hungry and thirsty. I rang 1083 for some numbers to call, but there was a long wait and no answer, so I rang 999 ! Thankfully, someone gave me a good number to call, and I was put through to a switchboard and then someone called to give me some advice and promised that help would be on it’s way.
I brought the birdie some water, organic nuts, seeds and berries, and a box to cover it, so to calm it; as advised by the caller. I had to guard it for it’s safety as dogs often came pass this alley. So I waited by it’s side for 2.30 hours. All the time praying that it will be saved and not put down.
While guarding it, a few ignorant people has passed by. Even though where I was standing is not a public footpath, there were still people who wanted to use it at their convenience.
One man walked up the stairs and charged towards me, almost kicking the box with the birdie in it. I told him to please be careful, as there is a bird in the box, and he told me that I was stupid… blah blah blah.. H5N1… bird flu.. complete ASSHOLE – I thought.
Then, a woman with an umbrella almost poked the box, responded likewise when I explained about the bird.
Later, the lovely little Hispanic school girl, Chelsea who lived on the 5th floor, came with her mummy, and waved a nice hello to me expressed kindness and interests when I told her about the bird.
Then came Roy, my worldly/well travelled interior designer neighbour who was very kind and asked if I needed a stool to sit on while waiting for the authority. Thinking the stool left by the cleaners would be dirtier than the ground, I politely declined, and stood waiting in silent.
As the sun sat, and skies darken, I became more worried and wondered if the authority would ever appear? Or should I start thinking about sleeping beside it?
At 6:30 the woman whose over hanging bed sheets, I once cut, who lived in the flat above mine, came back from work. As she approached where I was guarding, I told her to be careful where she tread, and informed her about the baby bird. To my utter surprise, she S C R E A M E Ded ! I shush her immediately, and told her NOT to frighten the poor bird further more… But she warned me about sick birds and H5N1…. and not to spread it around the neighbourhood “when" I get it.
I really hope birds and other wild life will NEVER meet her, as she most probably will KILL them.
Ok… I realised the HK gov. have hammered the idea of humans contracting H5N1 from sick or dead birds by even just standing next to one… but I really hope that they can also educated the general public about wild life, and how important it is that we should be kind and show respect towards these animals that co-exist in our neighbourhood.
Thank God for grandpa who allowed us to play and explore endlessly in his huge garden. Where much of my childhood was spent watching birds and other wildlife. Thanks to MOM, who later moved us to Melbourne. Where I learnt a great deal about respecting the environment and it’s tenants.
I just hope that bird get well soon, and can find it’s mother after being rescued.
It could barely fly….