I was walking along, minding my own business a couple of weeks ago when, at my feet a flurry of colour made me side-step. “Oops! What is that?”
A fledging was staggering about beside me … probably got a bit too cocky looking down from a hollow, high up in that tall eucalypt nearby. My … there was a lot of squawking going up there.
Instant dilemma. (Thinks: I shouldn’t pick it up. How will it get back up to safety? It can’t fly! Is it hurt? What can I do?) While I worried, the creature took action.
It finally got started after two floppy, failed attempts and began to climb. I could hear my grandmother saying … If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I shakily took photos.
“Breathe and hold, ” I muttered to myself and the bird, then pressed the shutter.
The fledgling was a young Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, in a punk phase, totally unfazed by my presence. Other lorikeets were making a racket from bushes on both sides of the path. It’s not for nothing that the collective noun is a “pandemonium” of parrots.
As the fledgling gingerly climbed higher, its feathers settled when it sat. There was still a way to go to get to safety.
This all took about 5 minutes. The bird took a breather every so often and preened. There’s the tree I think it fell from, on the left. That pandemonium of lorikeets squawked continuously until the youngster had climbed out of my reach.
I stepped out, heartened by that plucky little bird’s persistence and determination. Boy, that bird taught me a thing or two! It wanted to fly … it was learning to fly! It wasn’t going to quit.
I need to acknowledge a traditional Aboriginal story and popular children’s picture book here, called How the birds got their colours which features a Rainbow Lorikeet. Pamela Lofts created the book of this story, which she heard from Mary Albert of the Bardi people of Western Australia. It was published, illustrated with children’s responses as paintings, in 2004 … a classic, widely used in schools and still in print,
This recent YouTube video (Don’t be put off by the 10 sec ad. at the start), directed and filmed by Teagan Spratt and Alannah Bryne retells this Aboriginal legend, as part of a Media Arts assignment in 2014. A significant feature is the explanation by Aboriginal elder Bill Buchanan, as he answers questions about the cultural significance of such stories, told to children.
All text and photos, except where indicated, are by Meg
Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
How The Birds Got Their Colours. Dir. Teagan Spratt and Alannah Byrnne. YouTube. YouTube, 1 June 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93UIsjYz75k>.
Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Updated _ Scaly-breasted Lorikeet: Basic Information from Birds in Backyards. Web. Downloaded 3 Jan 2017.<http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-chlorolepidotus>