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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Avian Souls

posted by on October 30 at 8:59 AM

A very old flamingo was attacked by young humans:

flamingo1030.jpgFour Australian teenagers have been charged with an attack on an almost blind greater flamingo, thought to be one of the oldest of its kind alive.

Police and zoo officials said the flamingo’s head and beak were injured and it was bleeding from an eye.

The bird, aged at least 75 years, is in a critical condition, zoo staff said.

The bird has been at the zoo for most of its life and, with its Chilean partner, has been one of Adelaide zoo’s most popular exhibits.

The old bird has a Chilean partner. My heart just broke.

For reasons that are not easy to explain, the sad business recalled this passage in Swann’s Way:

I feel that there is much to be said for the Celtic belief that the souls of those whom we have lost are held captive in some inferior being, in an animal, in a plant, in some inanimate object, and so effectively lost to us until the day (which to many never comes) when we happen to pass by the tree or to obtain possession of the object which forms their prison. Then they start and tremble, they call us by our name, and as soon as we have recognised their voice the spell is broken.

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what's with young austrailians attacking animals in zoos?

Posted by douglas | October 30, 2008 8:57 AM

That was beautiful Charles.

Posted by Original Monique | October 30, 2008 8:57 AM

Your style was particularly appropriate and moving here, Charles. Thank you.

Let's keep a good thought that the flamingo pulls through.

Posted by LeslieC | October 30, 2008 9:02 AM

thanks charles. what a sad story-i loved the quote from "swann's way." i hope that bird survives.

Posted by jayme | October 30, 2008 9:04 AM

And this from Charlie "The only animal worth making a documentary about is the human" Mudede! Maybe flamingos deserve more love.

Posted by Greg F. | October 30, 2008 9:05 AM

teenage MALES. these sociaopathic shites need a year of cleaning out the elephant exhibit.

Posted by max solomon | October 30, 2008 9:16 AM

Cool, Charles. Post some Mad Libs next!

Posted by Gringus Cohen | October 30, 2008 9:22 AM

"Er, well, Swann, Swann, there's this house, there's this house, and er, it's in the morning, it's in the morning - no, it's the evening, in the evening and er, there's a garden and er, this bloke comes in - bloke comes in - what's his name - what's his name, er just said it - big bloke - Swann, Swann......."

(add "girl with the biggest tits"/Charles combo joke for your own amusement)

Posted by Ronald Rutherford | October 30, 2008 9:35 AM

Good luck, birdie. Stories like this put me in a downer funk for the rest of the day... :-(

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 30, 2008 9:38 AM

Terrible. A 75-year-old blind ... bird. Who are people? Who does that?

Posted by STJA | October 30, 2008 9:49 AM

this is why the goddamm teenagers have to be fed to the goddamm pitbulls, or alternately, held in a government internment camp until they turn 21.

Posted by josh bomb | October 30, 2008 10:07 AM

You know why flamingos fly upside down over Australia?

'Cos there's nothing worth shitting on.

Posted by boyd main | October 30, 2008 10:11 AM

It's pretty clear which being is inferior in this case.

Posted by julia | October 30, 2008 10:42 AM

So is Dan Savage going to start implying that all males under the age of 21 are bird-hating violent sociopaths? Or did that bird do something to provoke them Aussies...?

A horrible story.

Posted by ericq | October 30, 2008 11:22 AM

Beautiful post on a sad story. But I have to wonder about this sudden empathy for the avian world. Haven't plenty of slog commenters agreed that geese and pigeons are just vermin with wings, and deserve to be shot? Or is it just YOUNG geese and pigeons? Or do they have to be from Australia to get out sympathy? I'm confused.

Posted by Irena | October 30, 2008 12:30 PM

@15, for me, the differences are these:

* the bird is impossibly old (i had no idea a flamingo could outlive me) and blind
* as such it is already a marvel for having put up with a bird's life for so long
* the fact it had defied such steep odds to keep on keepin' on, only to be endangered by some TOTAL REJECTS is crushing
* I so want that birdie to be OK

That pretty much sums it up for me.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 30, 2008 12:50 PM

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