My friend, let’s not think of tomorrow, but let’s enjoy this fleeting moment of life
– Omar Khayyam
Last week, I posted photos of some little fairy martins making their nests under the eaves of a building. Today, I went back to video them. They were all gone.
At first I was puzzled. Then I remembered: last week a lady saw me photographing them. When I said the birds were cute, she said she had to get a pest controller out every year because bird lice got into the building. At the time, I wondered why someone would let the birds make their nests, only to destroy them. Why not put a barrier under the eaves to stop them making the nests in the first place?
But now, as I stared at the intact but empty nests, I felt shattered. The only explanation for the scene before me was that the birds had been poisoned. I felt shocked and saddened that people held the lives of other creatures in so little regard. And the fact that it happens all over the world every day overwhelms me.
Magic is fleeting. Last week the fairy martins were here; this week they are gone. Maybe forever.
But while I mourned the loss of these delicate creatures, who were doing nothing more sinister than building safe places to raise their young, new magic appeared.
A pair of black-shouldered kites flew over the paddock on the other side of the road. As I stepped out of my car, camera raised, one flew almost over me. It hovered momentarily, as pure and white as an angel, then flew away to join its mate.
My heart breaks when I think of all the threatened birds, such as the orange-bellied parrot, and other animals that are perilously close to extinction. And I realise that to stay sane in a world that people are destroying, I have to treasure fleeting moments of magic with the birds and animals we still have.