30 12 2022
A female Amur falcon with a broken right wing is handled by the resident vet at Birds at 30

She was tragically beautiful and very frightened, fluttering in blind panic with a wing that just wouldn’t work to get her off the ground. Recognizing that the dogs would very likely kill her I reversed back up the track to where Marianne was following with the dogs. Quickly she loaded the dogs into the back of the truck and we took a cover off a mattress and Marianne soon had her trapped in the makeshift bag and the walk could resume.

Over breakfast I contacted various people known to take in injured birds and established that Birds at Thirty, a place I’d never heard of, was the place to take her. It was easy enough to find behind an imposing brick wall and massive gates some 10 minutes from where we live.

I thought I’d arrived at some luxury hotel but the visibly amused receptionist said no, it was the headquarters for Spar Zimbabwe (a local supermarket franchise). I was met by one of the bird park assistants and directed to the veterinary office.

Hilton examined her whilst I told him the circumstances of the find. Initially he was quite positive saying he didn’t think the break was too bad, then he changed his mind.

“She’s bleeding at the joint so it’s an open fracture I’m afraid. I’ll give her some strong antibiotics and strap it up and we’ll see what develops. We may have to get the wing removed.”

“What’s your policy in situations like these?” I asked.

“Well that depends on whether I think our visitors can learn from seeing a bird like this” he replied.

“So do you get quite a lot of school visits?”

He told me that the birds were originally a private collection and anyone was welcome to come and enjoy them (you need to book). They were certainly very much in evidence, swans on a small lake and peacocks strutting around. Schools visited regularly. And I had never heard of the place!

“It also depends on the wishes of the person who brings the bird in” he added.

“Well, I’ll leave that to you” I said, ducking responsibility.

“I don’t see much point in leaving it to spend the rest of its life in a cage” he warned me.

“Well, we’ll have tried” I responded. “Please let me know what you decide”. And I left to get on with my day.