This morning I was watching some sulphur-crested cockies flirting about on the power lines just outside my back door, and grabbed the big lens to catch some shots of them so close to home. I noticed that one of them didn’t seem to be as animated as the rest, and when the rest all flew off, this one just stayed. Whoopee!! A photographic opportunity!
But as I looked at this bird through the big lens, it was clear that there was something terribly wrong. Its eyes were half-closed and it was swaying with the movement of the power line and looking fairly ordinary. Straightaway, within seconds of my taking this shot, it pitched forwards off the power line, still clutching with its claws.
Unfortunately it couldn’t make it back to an upright position,
and to my horror it just plummeted to the ground.
I ran and grabbed a towel and picked it up – it was spread-eagled on thre ground, its wings at full stretch, its head on the side, panting … I knew when I could pick it up with no response, no reflex peck or flutter, that things were not promising.
I rang my mate Lance because there’s nothing he doesn’t know about sick and wounded birds …. but as we talked, this poor thing died right in front of me.
I post these pictures because this was an extraordinary experience for me, sad and moving … and this was a beautiful creature. I could find no sign of trauma or disease. Perhaps it was just old … or young
This is a shot of its magnificent feet, nestled inside its wings
Canon EOS 400D, Canon L 400 mm lens, 1/1000th, f/7.1, ISO 1600, hand-held.