Thursday, December 16, 2010

Vale Mr Q

Mr Q was an Australian magpie. 
He came into care after a member of the public, in an effort to assist took him to a vet for treatment of throat worm. Unfortunately by the time he was delivered to us, his neck was twisted until his head was almost upside down. Another veterinary opinion was that he was given an overdose of possibly Ivermec, and it had damaged the nerves in one side of the neck. Treatment was started along with physio in the hope that the situation could be resolved. With one eye on the ground and the other watching the sky, the literal cock-eyed optimist. He was naturally named Quasimodo.
At the same time a young female was rescued. She was badly bruised, feathers damaged and torn out and she was very traumatised. She refused both food and water of her own accord.
Mr Q cage was placed along side her in an attempt to provide some stimulation. He sat next to her and softly sang. The next day she began to eat and drink.
When she was placed in the aviary, Mr Q went too as he had  clearly met the love of his life.
In the aviary he blossomed. Mastered scaling perches and even with his disability, he flew.
He played with his lady and should a tasty insect come his way, he always offered it to her and both of them developed their special song.
As all who have rehabilitated magpies know only too well, the difficulty of finding a niche in the wild for them that does not intrude on another magpies territory. Clearly Mr Q could never be released in a high density area as he could not hold his place against other healthy males. And so Mr & Mrs Q came to St Agnes.
After several weeks we made the decision to open the door.
They were both delighted, exploring their new area by day and always at dusk return to the safety of the aviary and sat side by side wings touching.
With all the open space Mr Q began to polish his flying skills. At first he was like a Harrier Jump Jet - all vertical lift and not much forward motion. But he kept trying and eventually could fly to about 6 metres up into a tree and from one side of the house pad to the other. With his cock-eyed view of the world, landing was a challenge. He solved this by performing a 180 degree spin and landed with easy (mostly).

Tuesday Mr Q went missing. We searched all the places he used to perch but nothing, not a sign. Mrs Q sat in the trees in one corner of the house area and called and called. This must have been the last place she saw him. That night she did not return to the aviary.
Yesterday she spent half the day flying around the boundary of their little world calling. Eventually, with only half a song, she stopped.
Today she is much more as she used to be, caroling and chasing the king parrots and bar-shouldered doves. She still goes to that corner from time to time, but now is silent.

We always knew when we opened the door that there was a chance a predator would eventually take him, but we hoped later rather than sooner, and had he been asked, I'm sure Mr Q would have chosen Life, for life is not about being safe in an aviary. Life is about living, taking chances, doing the best you possibly can with what you have. Feeling the sun on your back, the wind in your face, rain and above all loving your mate.

We will miss you Mr Q. Your funny song embellished with notes stolen from a butcher bird, your funny cock-eyed black and white shape running with wings out to catch up with Mrs Q. 
We honour your courage, perseverance and your lust for life

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