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R.I.P, Plume the cockatiel

R.I.P, Plume the cockatiel
Courtesy Gigi Jensen

“I just lost my best friend Plume, a beautiful hand-raise cockatiel. I was crying in the garden near his resting place when I had company – a butcher bird was a step away from me, just looking at me. I was so surprised I didn’t move. He kept on looking at me, then decided to fly onto my magnolia tree, just on top of Plume’s grave, and stay there. We were looking at each other and I talked to him for quite a while. The following day he was back. I left some water and food, and my little friend was not afraid of me at all. On the third day he was in front of my glass door waiting for me. As I opened the door he flew inside, into my kitchen, and allowed me to hand-feed him. This went on for a month. Then he didn’t come back but another butcher bird took his place. This was repeated four times. Now only once in a while I have a visitor, but I do believe Plume sent me these friendly birds to make my pain more bearable.” – Gigi Jensen

Kings of the Bush

Kings of the Bush
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“I feed kookaburras, magpies and a butcher bird. They all trust me and take the pet mince right out of my hand. I invited two kookaburras round nearly 32 years ago and the next day there were 10 there – and they all knew why they were there: free food. The word got around overnight; they have a language and use a lot of different vocalisations. I’ve come to understand a few of them. Kookaburras don’t just laugh; I know their call for ‘eagle’ and ‘danger’. I know when the babies have hatched because they cluck like chickens that have just laid an egg. The magpies do a double scream if an eagle is flying high overhead, and all the birds take cover. I’ve had kookaburras land on my head and shoulder and I feed them there. Kookaburras definitely are Kings of the Bush.” – Carole Jackson

Charging elephant

Charging elephant
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“July 2017 in Moditlo Private Reserve, South Africa, I was on an evening safari when we came upon a herd of elephants on the road. The guide/driver parked so we could sit, watch and photograph them. Next thing, a young bull elephant came charging towards the jeep and attempted to push an umbrella tree (which has massive and dangerous thorns) onto the back of the jeep where a young couple sat. This was the signal for us to get out of there. While scary, I didn’t feel my life was in danger.” – Penny Auld

One heck of a climb – but worth it

One heck of a climb – but worth it
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“I went to Uganda to track gorillas in Bwindi National Park. I struggled to get up the mountainside after many hours of hiking (due to altitude), so two guides carried me up the last mountainside. At the top were a family of gorillas. I could not stop the tears from flowing. I got to be within two metres of these majestic animals and all thanks to the Ugandan guides.” – Maggie Karner

Saved from the flames

Saved from the flames
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“Our son is a Country Fire Authority member, and has been since he was 17. He is now 37. On many occasions he would come home with a native baby animal he rescued while out fire-fighting. He would pop it in his pocket, then deliver it to the local wildlife shelter. Except one! A baby wood duck – he brought it home in his pocket as usual, but the dear little thing became quite attached to him and would climb up his leg to sit in his lap, and he couldn’t bear to part with it. On a few occasions it did give me a scare, as it climbed up my jeans, me thinking it was a spider until I came to my senses! It did eventually return to the wild.” – Jan King

Early warning system

Early warning system
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“Having willy wagtails come and tell us when a threat (feral cat) was in the paddock, and then for the willy wagtail to keep overhead of the cat while we moved into position to shoot it when it crossed the firebreak. The same family of wagtails have nested around our farmhouse for over four generations and come to us for most of the threats they encounter, including snakes, ferals and politicians.” – Des Bromilow

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Shark diving

Shark diving
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“Two years ago my son and I went to South Australia to do shark diving with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions. They put you in a cage in the water so you can observe the Great White Sharks and other fish. It is absolutely awesome; Great White Sharks are magnificent in their natural environment. It is one of the most wonderful things I have done in my life, and what made it even more special was that I did it with my son.” – Kel Gardiner

Friends of the forest

Friends of the forest
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“Out walking one day while visiting a relative’s property, I decided to stop under a big, shady tree to have a snack and a rest. I’d left quite early in the morning and dozed off leaning against the tree. I woke to the sound of squawking crows quite close by. They were on the branch above me! About 20 of them I reckon. Gee, that did wake me up quickly. I moved so fast from the shock that I scared the donkeys that had gathered to check me out. I’m not sure where they came from as I saw no donkeys on my earlier travels – there were five of them in various sizes and colours. I knew that none of them would bite me or even hurt me in any way but I was shaking like a leaf as a result. I did enjoy that morning immensely. Being at one with nature and having the ‘friends of the forest’ paying me an inquisitive visit. This memory will remain with me forever.” – Jeanine Richards

Giant Water Dragon

Giant Water Dragon
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“I back onto Cooper’s Creek [northwest NSW] and regularly whistle to call the wild ducks during the mating season. They will come to my call and I feed them brown bread. There are also Red Bellied Black snakes and Water Dragons, which also cross from the other side of the creek to be fed. One day when I was feeding the mother and her six half-grown ducklings, plus three Water Dragons average length 60cm, there was an almighty splash and ducks and Water Dragons all scattered – as the cause of the splash was a Water Dragon more than a metre in length who also wanted to be fed. This was the only time I ever saw him. Also in the creek are a tortoise and the occasional eel, and we get a yearly visit in the backyard from a Brush Turkey and sometimes a pair of foxes. – Barrett Carr

Knock knock…

Knock knock…
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“My late husband and I once owned a farm with an old house on it. While a new home was being built, we lived in the old one. One night we were sitting in the house when there was a knock at the door. I opened the door but there was no-one there. Back to sitting down and another knock. Thinking someone was playing jokes, I opened the door again, happened to look down – and there was an old wombat wanting to enter. What a welcome surprise, but I didn’t invite him in.” – Lorraine McNeair

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team