wings and things

Anti-bullying tactics

1. Identify the bully [this is Godfrey, the godfather of ganderdom].

2. Contemplate what to do with the bully situation [Bubble and Baby Turkey contemplating Godfrey].

3. Plan out a strategy.

4. Walk away from the bully.

5. Attack the bully if need be [Baby Turkey attacking Godfrey, with Bubble supervising so that Godfrey doesn’t get hurt, but is taught a lesson].

6. Turn the other cheek [Woodroffe and Diamond demonstrating this].

7. Ignore the bully and leave him next to the rubbish bins for at least one hour!


Marching orders and mutiny


Bubble (whispering): Baby Turkey, I have a plan. We’ll humour the old grouch for a few minutes and then we’ll pounce.

Baby Turkey: What does ‘pounce’ mean?

Bubble: You’ll see.

Gang: Oh no – not again!

Geese: Since when did Daffy lead the way?

Daffy: I’m the one most terrified of Godfrey.

Godfrey: That’s it – Hup, two three four, hup, two, three, four! Come on, turkeys, keep up!

Bubble: You grab his wings and I’ll peck his eyes out.

Baby Turkey: Oh, is that what you meant by ‘pounce’? Yes – let’s do it!



I have now spoken to two of Anthony’s doctors about the possibility of him going on antidepressants or some sort of medication to lift his spirits. The trouble is, of course, that when asked, “Are you depressed?” he immediately says no, without the slightest hesitation. Despite his inability to smile or laugh in the ‘normal’ way anymore, he still has the most amazing ability to remain relatively stable emotionally (it is me who zigzags constantly from one mood to another!) However, it is becoming more and more obvious that not being home is making him constantly sad, and longing for us – Ming and me – is making him even sadder. His head is always bowed right down now (an effect of Parkinson’s and his spinal condition) so that when he stands he is almost bent double and I have to kneel down to look him in the eyes.

When I thought about telling Anthony about my weird dream (see previous post), I anticipated he would laugh his head off because I keep forgetting he can’t laugh at all. Every time I see him I get a shock all over again at how deteriorated he is – and how quiet, sometimes sullen. So this week I am going to organize an appointment to get some happy pills – after all, what harm can it do now? I realize this post may elicit mixed opinions and that’s probably a good thing. I don’t know what else to do.

I’ve been wondering why I continue to love Godfrey the gander, despite the way he bites me all the time (even when I am giving him bread!) and I think it’s because his confidence, his boisterousness and his strut all remind me of Anthony when he could stand up straight.


‘I thought this was a bird blog!’

Angelina: It’s a bird blog primarily, of course, but Julie keeps going off topic.

Queenie: I’ve noticed that. She keeps blogging about silly old men!

King: Like me?

Queenie: Darling, never – your tail feathers will grow back soon!

Baby Turkey: I have now held this pose for several hours but Julie still hasn’t noticed!

Diamond: Me too.

Guinneas: I’m sure she’ll get back on topic soon. We always do.

Phoenix 1: She hasn’t taken much notice of me lately either, which is a bit hurtful.

Godfrey: I suggest we all start biting her. Watch and learn.

Emery 2: Noooooooooooooo!

Tina Turner: Yes – Godfrey is right!


Returning good for evil

Some time ago now, doudou, a fellow blogger ( sculpted me some birds, and they were brilliant – three emu chicks, one galah and a bluejay.

Now doudou is going to sculpt Tina Turner! In case you don’t know who Tina is, he is one of our roosters. Another thing you might not know is that Tina attacks me all the time (possibly because, until he grew up, I thought he was a girl). So, in good-for-evil mode, I have decided to allow Tina’s entrance into doudou’s hall of fame because I am hoping that giving Tina Turner a turn will endear him to me – ha!

The only problem is that Godfrey finds this very difficult because, as my only other attacker, he feels it should be him who is sculpted first but as I told him this morning, whilst extricating my ankle from his biting beak, Tina was here long before he arrived!

I do try to pat him with one hand and use my other hand to fend him off but it isn’t working very well so please, doudou, could  you sculpt Godfrey first? He is terribly jealous….


Tapper’s eggs

After several days of Tapper’s elusive behaviour, I thought she must have gone off with one of the wild ducks and was, perhaps, sitting on eggs somewhere in one of the paddocks. I searched everywhere to no avail and then, all of a sudden, she would turn up and have a swim in the pond, then disappear again. It was all becoming too mysterious and I was beginning to feel sad that we’d lost yet another bird….

Then, late this afternoon, after putting the gang away into their yard, I decided to go in with them, defy Godfrey (that took a bit of doing!) and sit in there on a tree stump while I waited for the hose to fill their yard pond. All of the gang, except Godfrey, came and nuzzled me for bread, which I always have in my pocket, and I had my camera ready just in case any of them did anything extraordinary.

Once the bread was gone, they quickly lost interest in me and went to the pond, so I was about to get up off the tree stump to go inside and cook dinner when I had a quick look inside the little chookhouse in that yard … and that’s what the picture is of – Tapper on her eggs!


Baby Turkey

The little beige turkey, ‘Baby Turkey’, who was the only survivor of the four we bought several weeks ago (fox got two and one got ill), has lost all his timidity and is now the boldest of all the turkeys. He is not as sweet as the Bubbles; actually, he’s not sweet at all and has a terrible temper. But he’s extremely clever and, even though he can fly, he actually likes to climb trees and ladders by hopping up from branch to branch, or rung to rung.

But Baby Turkey’s latest hobby is to perch on top of one of the chook houses and watch the emus in their yard. He doesn’t watch them with interest or awe or admiration – he watches them with extreme malevolence. I don’t know why he hates them so much but he does and the other day when I was taking the emus for a walk, he continually attacked them by flying up to their eye level and trying to claw them. This resulted in all of the Emerys zigzagging here there and everywhere in a panic, and made rounding them up a nightmare.

In the above photo you can see Baby Turkey in the background, aiming one of his evil eyes in the Emerys’ direction while they innocently munch their cabbage. And when I reprimand him by saying, sternly, “Stop that, Baby Turkey” I can see shivers creeping up the rather long spines of the emus, just at the mention of his name.

So we now have three birds who have anger issues: Godfrey the gander, Tina Turner the rooster and, now, Baby Turkey. I will have to put a sign at the front gate – Beware of the Birds.


The ‘new’ emus

We have now had the new Emerys (the name I call our emus) for nearly a month, so three days ago, I let them out of their yard for the first time. They were hesitant that day and just hung around outside their yard, but on the second day, they ventured further into the paddocks they are looking longingly at in the above picture. I was hoping they would stick to the five acres around our house but, as Son pointed out rather sternly, they are wild birds at heart.

Each day it has been a challenge to round them back into their yard. They do come when I call out “Emerys” but they take their time and I have to have a lot of cabbage to tempt them. They love frolicking in water so now what I do is to turn the hose on into their yard and create a big puddle and this also lures them in but it takes a lot of patience.

Unfortunately we have had two casualties. The first was on the day of arrival (I couldn’t write about it at the time); one of the six emus, once released into the yard, could not stand up. It kept trying and falling over and this went on for a couple of hours while the emu farmer was still here. We tried everything but eventually the farmer said that once this happened there was no hope, so he had to put the emu out of its misery. This was done very quickly and humanely, but I was devastated. Then, a week ago, the same thing happened to one of the others and Son had to do the deed as the emu was extremely distressed and seemed to be in terrible pain and kept cheeping. This was the same day Wantok flew away so it was a pretty dreadful day. The picture below shows one of the emus sitting down (this one is perfectly well) but this is what the two deceased emus did when they got sick; each of them would get to a sitting position, then flop to one side or the other, legs flailing, then get to a sitting position again and so on. There doesn’t appear to be any explanation.

On a more positive note, the remaining four emus are thriving and loving their hours of freedom. They are much bigger than our first Emerys so I think they might be safe from that fox, but I can’t be sure, so I spend a lot of time following them around which I thoroughly enjoy. It’s hilarious to watch them run in their zig-zagging way. They often bump into the peacocks and geese which frightens the hell out of both parties. Strangely, the only one they don’t seem afraid of is Godfrey, the gander, who hisses and honks at them to which they reply with a surprisingly deep grunt, almost like a bark and this shuts him up!



Godfrey the gander


Godfrey is a Chinese gander (that’s a male goose for the uninitiated). When we got him a few months ago, he was two years old and he didn’t have a name so I just called him Godfrey because he looked like a Godfrey. He was quiet, semi-tame and rather majestic. Soon after, we began to accumulate a few goslings and Godfrey has now changed from a gander who ate from my hand to a biting, hissing Godzilla – but only when I approach his goslings. Yes, he seems to think they are his own offspring and his protectiveness of them is incredible.

It was rather beautiful with the first gosling as Godfrey bent over and nudged Pearl and made this soft, keening noise from deep inside his rather long throat. I thought, how sweet, so brought our new duckling, Zaruma, out to meet him but, even though at two weeks of age, Pearl and Zaruma were almost identical, Godfrey spat it (literally) with Zaruma, then king-hit him with one of his massive wings whilst caressing Pearl with his other wing.

Yeah, you definitely need to be a goose if you want Godfrey’s affection!