I'd been out for my lunchtime power walk, and was almost home when I heard a racket in one of the paperbark trees in our nearest cross street. There was a flying fox hanging high in the tree, with a couple of currawongs giving it a hard time. Was it caught there? Was it able to get away? As I rounded the corner to our street, I saw Alex and a mate, rootling around in Alex's garage. I asked if they'd seen the flying fox. No, they hadn't, so they came up to have a look. Alex said he thought the flying fox was caught by a string around one of its legs. After all, the currawongs are nesting and they often take bits of string as building materials. We couldn't see it though. So I decided to call WIRES - the wildlife rescue service. They asked whether it was a ladder job. Oh yes, I said, it was quite high in the tree. The volunteer on the phone said she'd send someone with experience in rescuing flying foxes. I thought I had done my duty, and continued to work.
On the 4pm Pug Walk (yes, there is a 4pm walk and a 6pm walk, in addition to the morning walk..) we saw quite a commotion in the street. A huge fire truck, fully fitted out with firemen, blocking the narrow road. A string of cars behind the fire truck. An audience of agog pre-schoolers up against the fence of the kindy, taking in every minute of the rescue. I approached the leading fireman, who told me they almost had it, but that at the last minute it had made a getaway. No string around its leg? "No," said the fireman, "it had legs enough to get away from me." As the fire engine packed up and took off, it gave a quick blast of the siren to excite the kids. It did. They chanted happily "Fi-ya men, fi-ya men" as the fire truck departed. It must have made their day.
Was I right to call WIRES? Was the flying fox invading the territory of the currawongs? Was it making a new home and standing its ground .. er... hanging its perch? Was it a good use of the fire department's time and resources? Oh, life in the big city. Soulless, sterile, dull. NOT!