Half the insane people in JHB have my cell number. They pass it on to each other, as well. My phone-book is full of entries like 'pigeon ros', 'mynah sandy', 'duck louise' - so that when they call again to say 'I brought you a bird last year and now I have another one....', I can make intelligent remarks like 'yes, it was that beautiful pigeon'.
It would probably be better for me if I pretended ignorance of any bird prior to yesterday, but I can't - when people care enough to get hold of me, and then to follow up on 'their' babies progress, I feel obliged to at least try to know what it was and where I got it from.
Monday's call came 5 minutes after I'd curled up for my afternoon nap. I felt guilty, but arranged to come out in about 2 hours - before that happened, they phoned to say building management had called someone. I asked them to get his name, because if there is some other sucker out there caring for baby mynahs, it would be useful for both of us to have backup. Tuesday's call came - again, as I settled in for a morning nap - but this time I leaped straight into action. Turned out building management had called pest control, and the girls involved had refused to let them take the baby.
I arrive. Baby is a mynah nestling who has fallen through the steel grid of the roof where they nest, onto the 3rd floor balcony of an office building. Mom and Dad are guarding him fiercely. Very fiercely. When the sliding door had been opened to take baby a saucer of water, the parents had flown inside, terrorised everyone in the office, and then patrolled the balcony. When I looked at him, he was a just-fledgling, who would have needed another week at least of care. The bird-lovers in the office said they hadn't seen him being fed, and couldn't stand to find a little body there. The smokers and coffee-drinkers said they weren't prepared to walk up and down three flights of steps for 2 weeks just because some damn bird wouldn't allow them out the door! As a smoker, coffee-drinker and bird-lover, I had to agree with all 3 groups.
So...no problem, I say - I'll take him. 'By yourself?' they ask. 'Without protective gear?' No problem....macho girl says, it's just a little bird! I got nailed. Hard enough that I checked for blood. Mom and Dad did not approve of me going out there, of looking at baby, of picking up baby, and of taking him away. Baby didn't really approve either, until he got fed, and then he was happy.
I haven't spoken to the office since then, but, based on my last sighting of two parents watching beady-eyed through the glass door....I wouldn't bet on a peaceful smoke out there for a few days yet!
Today's unwilling call was a duck with a broken wing. So he'll need taking to the bird vet before tomorrows shift - yep, got bullied into a shift as well.
And Andy-cat has an early vet delivery for his leg to be cleaned and checked, and while he's prone, will have his nuts denutted as well. Might help prevent future problems.
The heroes for the day though, are Dr Marc Verseput of Craighall Vet who has promised to keep Andy's bill under R2000 - lots of leg work, 3 days of public holiday, a week of care, bandages, neutering, more sedation etc. I was expecting something closer to twice that. Thank you Marc. And thank you Ken Cosgrove of the Fury car dealer group. Ken already supports the wildlife rehab centre at every event, plus he has become a 'volunteer husband' and he and his wife are the recognised chimney experts - even though he doesn't like heights! When he heard of Andy, and my hope for some help with the medical bills, he immediately bought 20 boxes of the chocolates that Children of Fire had donated to Andy. Thank you Ken, thank you Fury Auto group, and thank you to the Fury management team who are eating expensive chocs whether they wanted to or not! Now if only Ken had 40 unmarried brothers.....