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Monday, December 10, 2012


Bird on a Wire

Getting up at 5:30 am allows you to see the spectacle of the crescent Moon, Venus and Saturn. But this time I was up keeping watch on Archie, our galah, who decided to go on a little adventure, and ended up spending the night in a tree.

Archie's adventure started Saturday afternoon, when he was having some out time from his cage while we were out on the back veranda. Archie often shares breakfast or lunch out there with us, either on his perch or scrabbling around on or under the table.

This time he was sitting quietly on his perch when I went inside to answer a phone call. The boys were outside with him. When I came back Archie was nowhere to be seen. "He flew around the corner" said SmallestOne helpfully.

He wasn't around the corner, or in the back yard at all. So began an afternoon of door-knocking the neighbours, doing blockies calling Archie's name, printing out posters and putting them up ( "have you seen this parrot?" sounds funny in retrospect), dropping off leaflets and posting on various lost pet websites. SmallestOne was distraught, "I loved Archie" he cried.

For various encounters with other bird owning neighbours, the Bettdeckererschnappedner Weisle learnt that sometimes errant parrots can come back on their own accord up to three days later. We slept marginally better with this news.

Sunday dawned, Vets were rung, I dropped off posters in the local pet stores, and wandered around the backyard crying "Archie" forlornly, in between bashing my thumb with a hammer trying to do minor household chores. A few more neighbours were visited to inspect backyards.

We were preparing ourselves for another Archie free day. Then at 7:30 pm our phone rang "We've found your parrot!". The good news was that a family out walking had seen Archie, who was also walking down the Esplanade (the major road that runs next to the beach, he was two streets away from us). The bad news was that he had flown up a tree.

And not just any tree, one of the massive Norfolk Island pines that line the Esplanade, the lowest branches were 5 meters form the ground, and Archie was around 10 meters up. Not even our tallest ladder would reach the bottom branches.

So we and some friends and neighbours huddled around the base of the tree, calling and shaking one of his toys. He didn't budge. By 9:30 pm, when it was dark and cold, it was obvious he was in for the night, so we went home (well, I went and picked up EldestOne from his party).

So it was that I was back under the tree at 5:30 am Monday. Archie hadn't moved, nor did he move for ages. Now I should point out that Archie can't actually fly, he can do short hopping flaps, and it was clear he was very nervous about where he was. Eventually he slowly worked his way down to the power line the went through the tree. Then he edged slowly along accompanied by me waving a handful of sunflower seeds and offering scratches. Various dog walkers stopped for a chat and offered advice while I did this.

Eventually he reached a power line that ran down to a house, he edged down along this while we stood nervously in someone else's front yard. Eventually, with the help of a broom for him to climb down (thank you lady with the two dogs who suggested this) he was in our arms, eating sunflower seeds and getting scratches.

So if you want to know why I haven't finished my Conversation blog post, or my iTelescope comet post, or finished my talk for Tuesday, this is the reason why.

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