IT didn’t have the drama or international exposure of a soccer team in a flooded cave, but this week’s rescue of a raven stuck in a South Fremantle tree captured a city’s imagination.
The unfortunate bird got tangled in string while collecting building material for its nest on Monday. To make matters worse the string then snagged on a branch, leaving the bird stuck about 12 metres up the gumtree for two days.
While the raven’s mate resolutely stuck by its side for two days and fought off constant attacks from other crows, on the ground locals were becoming increasingly desperate to help.
Ian Jamieson heard the raven’s plaintive call throughout the night and on Tuesday morning awoke to find the bird hanging from the branch, flapping forlornly.
“I rang the council first to get on to the ranger and they said they can’t handle birds,” Mr Jamieson said.
“So they put me onto Wildcare – and the woman there was very helpful – but the same thing. They couldn’t handle it.
“I tried the RSPCA and they couldn’t do it either because of the height – I guess it’s around 30 feet, I suppose.
“I said put me onto the SES and they said that’s something they wouldn’t be able to handle.
“All in all, nobody seems to be able to do anything about it other than let me watch it starve to death, which is a bit sad.
“Gotta be cute to be safe these days,” Mr Jamieson said with a wry grin.
Meanwhile neighbour Judy Hogue tried the fire brigade. They were happy to come around and stick up a ladder but ancient drainage under the driveway made it too risky to bring in the fire engine. The young gun firies were keen to try throwing up a rope to bring down the branch, but the boss hosed that down.
So Ms Hogue turned to social media, asking Freo Massive users if anyone knew a good tree climber.
Freo councillor Adin Lang took up the task, first hitting up council colleague Ingrid Waltham for a net, as her husband owns a marine supplied company.
Cr Lang told the Herald he then started ringing arboriculturists, each unable to help but willing to recommend someone else, until he’d filled a page with names.
Finally he found Spearwood arborists AB Trees, who agreed to take on the job.
It was night-time before the company’s young hero Cal Williams, who’d driven an hour from his last job, donned his spiked shoes to climb up under torchlight and sawed off the limb. Things didn’t go quite to plan when the bird got tangled in branches below, but it wasn’t long before it was down and was rushed off to Native Arc for a checkup.
“The boys are always happy to help if they are available; so far this year we have rescued two birds and a very loved cat,” Mr Williams’ boss Ben Rule said
“We understand that in our line of work often jobs we are contracted to undertake may be frowned upon by the community – removing trees, etc. However, we are trained arborists so we also have the ability to save trees, help with animal rescue where we can and give back to Mother Nature.”
Meanwhile a GoFundMe fundraiser to pay the young tree climber was going ballistic, hitting its $200 target within minutes of going up. Cr Lang, who’d set it up, says any leftover money will go towards Native Arc.
On Wednesday afternoon the lucky crow was given the all-clear by the rescue centre and was released underneath the tree. After a quick bearing-check on a fence it was soon off looking for its mate and 10 minutes later the pair were back making sure the nest was still intact.
“Omg this post so much love ,” Freo Massive user Jipsi O Ceana summed up the general reaction to the successful rescue.
by WADE ZAGLAS
and STEVE GRANT