Flocked is a participatory project by artist Sera Waters which aims to collect and collate bird stories to add to the rich ornithology collection of the SA Museum. Our everyday knowledge of birdlife is extraordinarily rich and I would love you to contribute your stories, imaginings, family tales, first-hand encounters and any other thinkings about birds to this blog.
About twenty years ago I had a small strawberry farm in Redland Bay, just outside Brisbane. It was two days after my father had passed away from cancer. I was driving my van to market using a road that was also used to transport chickens from farms to the abattoir.
One of these poor souls had somehow escaped from it's mobile cage and landed in the short grass just off the bitumen. I spotted it with a large crow standing behind it. As I pulled up the crow quickly flew off. My thoughts were to take this lucky escapee home to live out its years with my free range ckooks at home.
As I approached I could see that this shivering creature had had the complete back half of its flesh eaten away from its bones by the crow. My instinct was to take it home and try to nurse it back to health but its injuries were so horrific that it would probably died a slow painful death. After much deliberation I came to the conclusion that I had no choice but to put it out of its misery. I stoked its head softly a few times, shed a tear, said I was sorry and ended its miserable life with a snap of its neck.
It wasn't until a few days later, after Dad's funeral, that I realised that this decrepit bird had helped me to understand that my father whose body was being eaten away by this horrid disease was much better off in peace and out of his pain.
To this day I still remember those small sad eyes staring at me and appreciate that rather than its planned fate of being someone's Sunday lunch it had provided me with a much greater gift which I truly value.