Just when you think you live in a sleepy little suburb, you discover something going on in your own backyard that is more dramatic, more shocking, than a long running television series that has mastered the lingering stare (insert Ridge glare here).
This tale involves deception, betrayal, starvation, death and parental abuse and ultimately abandonment, and then hopefully I shall have relief from the constant keening.
A child crying constantly from hunger is, of course, upsetting, but this entire situation was so shocking to my ears that I immediately wanted to help the poor mother involved, but as with neighborly disputes, I knew not what to do.
How best to help?
Let me tell you the story, and you can share the burden of such horror in my yard.
A few months ago, a young mother cruised into my neighbourhood and clandestinely left her baby in someone else’s house. The matriarch of this house has many babies and didn’t notice another, so she takes it in and loves it as her own. Admittedly, she is not known for being especially bright, but she has a big heart and tends to her young’s needs as best she can.
The true parents of this false child go off on a holiday, happy in the knowledge that someone else is raising their kin and they’re free to flit about in the sunshine, lounging by pools and drinking cocktails all summer long. They plan to go and pick their child up when all of the hard work is done.
To be honest, I can see the merit in the plan, but my code of ethics cannot condone these actions.
Stick your kids in a cellar? Sure, but leaving the work to someone else?
As the surrogate child grows, it is evident that it is hungrier than all of the other children so the mother is forced to give it all of the food. The bigger-than-average baby cries all day for food and it’s voice is so much louder than her own children. It bullies her and pushes the other children away, monopolising all of the food and still wailing for more. Within a matter a weeks, her own babies starve to death and are thrown out of the house. This lone remaining child bullies her tirelessly until she is exhausted trying to quell it’s hunger and it just grows and grows until it far outweighs it’s tiny surrogate. It yells at her for hours on end -
‘Food! Feed me!’ it screams whilst chasing her around the house menacingly.
After months of being abused and harrowed, she still tends to this monster baby as if it’s her own, until one day the real parents arrived back on the doorstep to claim their kin.
“Hey, babe”, they say “have you ever noticed that you don’t look one single scrap like your mum?”
“Look, she’s black, you’re not. She’s obviously not your mother, but look at us. We’re just like you. In fact, we’re your real parents and we’ve come to take you away with us to a tropical island destination. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
And away they go off to Indonesia or New Guinea to bask under palm trees for the winter, leaving a poor confused, probably slightly relieved, if heart-broken mother to cope with her sudden empty nest syndrome.
I have observed this
orthal ornathalogic bird saga now two years in a row, and I have a feeling as long as I live in this neighbourhood I shall bear witness to similar annually. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress, and the Channel Billed Cuckoo is a parasitic, if majestic bird.
I’m sorry about your babies, Missus Magpie.
I’m afraid it’s really out of my hands.