As some Gentle Readers are aware, Hubs and Self rescued a Little Penguin last week, genuinely hoping that this action would make a positive difference.

A side on picture of a Little Penguin, a small bird with a white neck and breast, and blue-black feathers on the upper body and wings.
The Little Penguin Eudyptula minor (commonly referred to as “Fairy Penguins”) – the smallest penguin species. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

We took the exhausted bird off the Tatlow’s beach area in Stanley (lots of dogs, people, larger birds and vehicles) to Parks and Wildlife Tasmania. We had tried a few penguin-specific rescue numbers, but none answered straight away and we are not skilled enough to take in a wild species, so we did the sensible thing and went straight to the local P and W office as they often have alternate carer phone numbers. We had high hopes that this rescue would result in the penguin being returned to the Stanley colony, which is west of Tatlow’s beach and around two points. A full crop and feathers in good condition were good signs we thought and hoped.

However, a follow-up call or two with Parks and Wildlife later we received sobering news. The Little Penguin died the next day, despite the best efforts of the specialist penguin carer who took in our beach castaway. This is moulting season, so adult birds need to be twice the weight our little one was as – this, combined with sheer exhaustion, meant survival was not the outcome.

I am a little sad today. However, Hubs and I are in the habit of rescuing sick and injured wildlife and birds, and we don’t intend to stop even when we don’t get the ‘good news’ end to the story every time.

Dr Annetta Mallon 2021

This has made me think about caring and compassion generally in life, at end of life in particular. It is very easy to walk past someone in need and not stop to help, because not stopping is easier. Not helping is often physically and emotionally easier. But I am not interested in the ‘easy’ way – most of the time anyway. So I will continue, and Hubs will continue, singly and together, to care enough to stop, assess, and help where we can.

I hope this weekend you experience love, care, and caring. Whether you are giving or receiving, I don’t think I could wish for you to have anything better.