This is a true, good news story from Sydney in lockdown, from a former journalist now dedicated to writing #uplit (uplifting literature).
The adventure happened under my nose, at a corner window of my tiny apartment with a big view, on the edge of Sydney Harbour.
Lorikeets and other wild birds often visit our veranda birdbath, installed during the 2019 bushfires. Bright and brash, they spend their days squawking and screeching as they zoom from tree to tree seeking nectar. (Enjoy this video, but please read on …)
A commotion at a window caught my attention. The scuffling and scratching led me to believe they were building a nest nearby.
But at dusk, they were still at it, and again early next morning. That’s when it dawned on me there was a problem. The sounds weren’t just coming from the birds on the window sill. They were coming from inside the wall, between two layers of bricks, four storeys up!
When I called handyman Bruce Barrett of the Handyman Van, he was keen to help, even though the situation looked hopeless.
“There’s always a way,” said Bruce, who has 12 years in the handyman trade, following earlier careers as a pastry chef, yacht rigger and superyacht crew member. Add to his experience a passion for rock climbing and adventurous travels through Canada, Alaska, South Africa, New Zealand and Europe, and he has picked up plenty of skills.
I feared the bird might die of fright from the noise of the power tools, but about half an hour after Bruce started removing an external brick near the window with the help of a small jackhammer, he came to me with a baby lorikeet in his hand.
“I just reached in and pulled it out,” he said. “I was lucky I removed the right brick.”
The chick was offered a dark shoebox, a slice of apple and some water, but it preferred to fly to Bruce’s shoulder, and started preening his beard.
Amazingly, a parent bird returned and fed it, beak to beak, through the partially opened window, before flying away again.
The baby bird stayed resting on Bruce, chirping softly and snoozing until a WIRES volunteer arrived to take it for a vet’s check-up. Bruce refused to accept payment for the rescue.
“It feels good to be able to help wild creatures,” Bruce said. “They’ve got it pretty tough, nesting in buildings instead of tree hollows possibly because of an ever reducing number of mature tree bird real estate.
“It was amazing to witness the chick and parent reuniting with a much-needed feed and a stern talking to, after being trapped for at least 15 hours.”
How’s that! I’m addicted to uplifting endings, and this one is truth, not fiction! I couldn’t be more grateful to Bruce for his clever approach and the care he took. Now Bruce can add “baby lorikeet rescuer” to his list of successes.
The bird seemed to appreciate how lucky it was. At one stage it actually put its beak in Bruce’s ear and whispered sweet nothings. The rescue is a real feather in Bruce’s handyman cap.
Update: The rescued bird has been dubbed “Bluey” by a WIRES carer who will feed him until it gains another third of its bodyweight, and then reunite him with his parents, who have been keeping an eye out for him. (We think he must have fallen between the walls from a nest in the eaves two storeys up!)
In other news: Thank you for further great feedback about House of Diamonds and House https://amberjakeman.com/books/of Hearts. House of Spades is just about ready to roll, and I’m 50,000 words into House of Clubs due to lockdown.
Best of luck with all your own projects!
Email me at AmberJakemanSydney@gmail.com to share your views.