The bird with the purple plaster on its toe is a lucky thing.
Well, first it was unlucky. But then it was lucky to be rescued by Wickham’s Rochelle Wood.
The bird – a dusky moorhen – was found tangled in a fishing lure at Warabrook Wetlands Reserve.
“It was a 10-centimetre lure, with about five hooks together in a circle. It was heavy-duty looking equipment,” Rochelle said.
This next part is a tad disturbing. Rochelle explains what the lure did to the bird.
“Imagine your leg is bent behind you, with your calf hooked to the back of your thigh [hamstring],” she said.
One of the bird’s large toes was also bent backwards.
“It wasn’t broken, but had seized in that position because it had been like that for so many weeks,” she said.
Rochelle caught the bird with a net, extracted the hooks and straightened leg and toe.
“I strapped the toe, then took it off after about 48 hours and it was just perfect,” she said.
The bird was released back at the wetlands on Friday.
“It flew straight over to its family and can walk perfectly now. You can’t even see a limp,” she said.
“I just wish people would be more aware of what fishing equipment can do to wildlife when it’s left behind. People don’t think of the implications of what garbage will do to wildlife – it’s sad.”
Topics agrees. People, stop being grubs. And fishos, we know you fish and you vote, but spare a thought for the birds, hey?
Speaking of birds, Topics ran an online survey last week that asked “what is your favourite bird?”.
The clear winner was the kookaburra, claiming a massive 40 per cent of the vote, followed by rainbow lorikeets with 25.5 per cent, magpies with 25.1 per cent and Indian mynas with 2.4 per cent.
They were the only four choices we gave. We were trying to get an understanding of the most popular common birds around our neighbourhoods.
We’re not really surprised that the majestic kookaburra claimed the crown. They’re such serene, calm creatures, with a beautiful song. Plus, they don’t swoop people like maggies.
Mind you, we have heard that they sometimes swoop in and steal food from people's hands. We’ve never seen it, but apparently it does happen.
Strange Beach Worms
Topics wrote on Saturday about strange worms found on Bar Beach.
Valentine’s Elsie Luckman contacted us to say these bizarre creatures are known as “goose barnacles”.
Back in the day, when Elsie was a young’un, she lived at Maroubra.
She recalled the barnacles being washed up onshore, among the seaweed.
She also remembered things called “mermaid’s purses” which are basically the casings of shark eggs.
As for goose barnacles, one must be careful when pronouncing this. One does not want to make an error and say “boose garnacles”.
Such an error is known as a “spoonerism”.
This was named after Oxford University lecturer William Archibald Spooner, who was famous for slips of the tongue.
A few examples are: Three cheers for our queer old dean (Three cheers for our dear old queen); You were fighting a liar in the quadrangle (You were lighting a fire in the quadrangle); You have tasted a whole worm (You have wasted a whole term).