A Black Kite’s Flight to Freedom
It does not matter how important your work or meeting may be, if you see a fellow creature, a bird or an animal, or even a tree, in distress, try to reach out to help!
It was one of those Monday mornings when, like many other people, I was looking forward to a week full of work! I was facing a deadline in the office, and my director had sent me a note about a mountain of things for me to do. I made my “to do list” and set about planning how to manage my day, sitting in the backyard with Kolumbuz, a cat that occasionally drops in at my place. Suddenly, I noticed Kolumbuz gazing intently at something high up ahead. I looked that way and what I saw left me stunned: a beautiful bird that looked like an eagle swaying about, furiously flapping its wings high up on a tall tree just beyond our compound wall. For a while, I thought it was just fluttering around the branches of the tree, but then I noticed that his attempts to fly failed. It was then I realized that it was caught in the tree and was struggling to set itself free. To make things more pathetic, two of its companions flew close to it, as if seeking to rescue it, but although it tried to follow them, it could not.
I knew that there was now no time to waste. I decided I had to get into action to set the bird free. A few days earlier, my friend Trinkoo had sent me the address of the website of the People for Animals (PFA)’s Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre. Glancing through the website, I had saved their helpline number on my cell-phone. My inner voice had said to me, “One day, it will be of help.” And that’s just what happened that day!
I quickly dialed the helpline number. They picked it up after just two rings, and after I explained the situation, I was told that it was probably a case of a bird caught in manja, string used for flying paper kites, which is gummed and coated with powdered glass. The PFA person told me that it might require a fire brigade team to rescue the bird, as it was high up, right on the tree top. I was also informed that PFA Rescuer, Chethan Sharma was on his way to help.
You can imagine what a relief that was! I ran out and, looking up at “Sunny” (as I named the kite—I later learnt from the PFA, it was a ‘black kite’ and not an eagle), waving out to him and telling him he would soon be free!
After that, I got back to my “job list”, typing away on my laptop. But I really couldn’t do much. After all, right before me was a lovely creature that had been majestically soaring in the skies a while ago but was now battling for its freedom and maybe even for its life. I decided no matter what, Sunny had to be free soon. I shut the laptop and ran out into the backyard and studied the ‘geography’ of Sunny’s rescue plans. I noted that the tree on which Sunny was caught could be reached only if one climbed up a neighbour’s terrace—and they were people I hardly knew.
As soon as Chethan from PFA arrived, we headed towards this house. At this moment, it did not matter to me if they knew me or not, and so I walked up to their gate and rang the bell. There was no response, but I kept ringing the bell like a spoilt school kid till the man of the house came to the door. I explained to him about Sunny and sought his permission to allow the PFA team to use his terrace as a base to rescue Sunny. Chethan called up for the fire brigade team, but he was told that it had gone on a fire-fighting mission to another part of the city. It would take a while to arrive. Just then, he came up with the brilliant idea of requesting the staff of the electricity department to lend us a ladder. I was amazed how in a matter of just a few minutes, a vehicle with four members from Bescom landed on the spot, along with a pole and a ladder!
Gathering up on the terrace, we planned how Chethan would manage to go about rescuing Sunny, who was entangled at a height of around 130 feet! The only alternative was for Chethan to climb up the cellular tower on the terrace and then seek to reach out to the bird. Imagine climbing up a mobile tower, and that, too, in the searing noon heat! Without a choice, Chethan climbed the tower. Once close to the bird, he cut the string attached to the tower. Holding onto the string, he climbed down the tower and slowly pulled the bird towards him. Once he got hold of the bird, he cut the remaining part of the string and examined the bird for injuries. The manja string was entangled around its right wing and the feathers were twisted across the string. It was provided first aid on site. It was then taken to the PFA’s Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre in Kengeri, where it is being treated for injuries.
I was really touched by Chethan’s commitment. Chethan risked his life climbing the tower, and his dedication to set Sunny free was truly amazing.
Sunny’s rescue experience was also a powerful reminder of the interconnectedness of all beings—birds, animals, trees and humans. Caught up we may be in the threads of the work we do for our survival, but we can all experience moments of freedom if we consciously connect to nature and our fellow creatures around us who may be suffering in various ways. It is an experience of sheer bliss. It does not matter how important your work or meeting may be, if you see a fellow creature, a bird or an animal, or even a tree, in distress, try to reach out to help. Believe me, the joy you get is heavenly!
‘Thank you God!’
(People for Animals can be reached at: No 67, Uttarahalli Road, Adjacent to BGS Global Hospital, Kengeri. Bangalore 60. Helpline: 9900025370/ 9980339880)
Email: [email protected] Website:www.peopleforanimalsbangalore.org