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The plight of a kookaburra
Written by Jodi Ruckley   
Thursday, 25 November 2010 00:00

Three days ago I was driving from Bellingen to Byron Bay. I was driving along the Pacific Highway, slower than usual because I was driving in an 80 km roadwork section. I noticed a bird that had been hit by a car, obviously completely dead, and fresh feathers flying around. Straight after I saw a beautiful looking Kookaburra on the side of the road, looking lost and confused. He stood in a precarious position, just inside the lane on the road. Because of the roadwork, there was absolutely no room to pull over.

One minute later there was a right hand turn, so I did a U turn. As I passed, I noticed the Kookaburra remained standing there. I did another U-turn at the roadwork entrance and came back towards the kookaburra; I put on my blinker early and simply pulled over, blocking all the traffic. As I got out of the car I apologetically nodded at the truck behind me, he seemed to understand what I was doing.

I walked up to the kookaburra. He seemed to be uninjured, but just in shock. I grabbed a blanket from the car. With a fleeting thought of how he could reach over and do serious damage to me with his beak, I gently reached down and gently picked him up with the blanket covering both my hands. I held him close to my heart. My heart went out to him. He was in shock, I know it was his mate that had just been killed and he seemed to be in total misbelief. He stayed between my hands for about 30 seconds and I felt him start to move. I released my slight pressure, and he flew away from under the blanket and landed a few metres away, safely in the bush not far from the side of the road. He flew strongly and confidently, obviously nothing wrong with him. I was relieved he was safe.

I quickly got back in the car, and started driving so the traffic could move. I burst into tears. I connected to the recently passed on kookaburra and prayed she had a peaceful passing over and would go to a place where she would be able to comfort and guide her still living mate. I sobbed so long, knowing how strongly he felt the sudden loss of his friend. I guess one days they will be re-united, these kindred spirits.

I love kookaburras so much; their laughter coming from the gum trees is something so uniquely Australian, and never fails to bring a smile to my face. It was interesting to learn first hand how strongly they form partnerships. It makes me think twice about driving, and the importance of taking responsibility if we see something happen to wildlife whilst driving.