Okay, so this parrot probably wasn't sad but maybe the story is. I'm not sure, we'll see how we go on semantics here.
Part One. I found a young 28 parrot standing, looking dazed, in the middle of the road and when I stopped, I put on my hazard lights because it is a busy road. I chased this baby into the forest where it hid in some sword grass to get away from me. It obviously couldn't fly, its adult feathers were only partially grown in length, so it was more a waddle than a chase. Eventually, after getting numerous paper cuts from the sword grass, I got a towel wrapped around the bird and put it in the car.
Part Two. It's a really hot day, even for a full throated summer hot day. So when I got to the IGA to do some grocery shopping, I left both car windows wide open, with the bird wrapped, muted and subdued, in the footwell of the passenger side. I was thinking, thank goodness I hadn't brought my dog along for the ride this day. Inside the store, I bought dog biscuits, wine, a cooked chook, some bird seed and a little glass water dropper. I stopped to chat with a local surfer who wants to write a book and a woman who'd been hiking the Bibulmum Track who wants to write a book.
Back at my car, I decided I'd drop in to see Flame and show her the parrot. She knows some wildlife carers who'd take care of it. I carried the towelled parcel of parrot carefully onto her back veranda and the parcel was light but birds are light, right, and I said, 'have a look at this, Flame,' unwrapped the towel to find .... nothing!!!
Part Three. Drove home in a state of abject disappointment and a kind of stupid-stupid-me self loathing. Windows wide open, so-called flightless parrot, I mean for all my good intentions, I was wondering if this parrot just wanted a lift to the shops.
In the morning, I made ready for a day on the fire tower, still feeling a bit sore about losing the parrot. 'But it flying away is a good thing, right?' I was telling myself as I made a sandwich. I resolved to ask the IGA staff if they'd seen it in the fruit section. Got in the car and the first thing I saw was this parrot wombling back under the passenger seat where it had been hiding ALL NIGHT.
Part Four. Luckily I had a pillowcase in the car (don't ask), so when we arrived at the mountain car park, I pulled the parrot out from under the passenger seat, put it in the pillowcase and walked up the mountain, carrying the parrot, my water bottle, my back pack and my special stick.
My friend who normally does wildlife rescue in the area was on holidays so I rang my boss running the burn that day for advice. 'Do you have any electrolytes?' she asked me. I looked around the tower. We have to carry everything up here. Mmm. No electrolytes. But I had some honey and lots of water. 'That'll do for the moment.' she told me, 'and some flower nuts, maybe melaluca or small eucs.'
For the rest of the day I fed the baby parrot honey water with the glass dropper and began to fall completely in love. It was like a bonding I've only experienced twice before in my life, with this parrot seeing the dropper and understanding really bloody fast what it meant. I imagined having a bird for a friend and familiar, a parrot to hang out with. The 28 looked stronger and stronger throughout the day. I took it home, put it in a cardboard box, which it promptly climbed out of to inspect the room.
My dog Selkie watched this parrot walk her very own estate. She was looking at me and then looking at this parrot, who ambled happily around the carpet and under the bed, across the kitchen vinyl and into the toilet. Selkie looked back at me and I could tell the dog was asking me, 'What the actual FUCK? You mean I'm not even allowed to kill and eat this thing?'
Part Five. Yes I'm quite aware there's not a part five here.
'So what happened?' Asked my mate Rick.
'Well, the parrot died,' I said.
'Oh that's a shit story Sarah!' He said, and his girlfriend laughed. 'Did the dog knock it off?'
'No! I got up in the morning, ready for another day on the tower, thinking I'd take the parrot with me again. When I looked in the box, it was kinda stretching out its beak and looking weird ... I picked it up and it died in my arms.'
'Yeah. Well. Shit story Sarah.'
PS, thanks to Rick for keeping it real and also to my boss in Nat Cons who said that the recovery rate is really low for parrots but for a moment in time, I had a parrot who considered me their mother.