Canberra Day Thirty One

[Tuesday 11th October, 2016]

Well I’m just home from a horrible experience! This is a first for Canberra, and its not Canberra’s fault at all. I thought it would be fun to go to the walk-in bird aviary, after all I love birds, and the promo photos of kids feeding birds in a large aviary looked lovely. But no, ick, awful!! I should have flushed my $12 down the toilet instead; it would have been better spent as far as myself is concerned. I have never seen so many inbred and disgusting looking birds! Have you seen the pigeons in the city? They’re meant to be grey with iridescent green and purple highlights but instead some are white, some are brown, some are black and white, most of them are patchy, and pretty awful and scummy to look at. That’s what this was like! Red-rumped parrots in weird white and yellow colours, rainbow lorikeets crossed with musk lorikeets, olive based colours on rainbow lorikeets, scaly breasted lorikeets crossed with musk lorikeets, olive based scaly breasted lorikeet…it just looked terrible to me! As far as I know this sort of thing only results from mutations and cross breeding. I asked some more more experienced birders online afterwards and they say some inter-breeding could be accidental amongst parrots who have the highest occurrence of inter-breeding compared to other types of birds (but would be weeded out by natural selection in the wild), but some would have to be intentional cross breeding to bring about a new species; this new species should be unable to breed but that isn’t always the case. And some are accidental mutations of colour genes during breeding. So obviously the aviary is a melting pot for all kinds of mix ups!! Not attractive, well not to me anyway. Maybe other people enjoy it. Maybe I’m off key here and those birds are actually rescue birds that are recovering; maybe all of the Australian birds have been rescued. But it felt like they were just inbred and weird. Yes it was mildly exciting with rainbow lorikeets (of all different cross breeds!) landing on my arms and shoulders to eat apple out of my hands, then squabble over meal worms…except for when one left a live meal worm on my neck!! Then they’d all take off at once and fly madly around the enclosure shrieking at full volume, not sure why. It was all just overwhelming and I just felt sad. I stopped taking photos and just watched them. Poor little things in cages. I didn’t say anything on the way out, just handed back the bowl and meal worm container and left. Then I stopped outside and shook all the spilled apple and bits of meal worms out of my shopping bag. Shaking the dust from my feet, so to speak.

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Notice the olive backs and duller blue heads of two birds – a colour mutation apparently

I left there with a huge lump in my throat. Not like when you’re about to cry. It took me the drive home to realise that it was anxiety; I was seriously distressed! It was the kind of lump that you can’t swallow, and the more you try the more you feel like you can’t breathe and that right there is the beginnings of a panic attack!! Luckily I realised what is was in time, and starting taking long deep breaths and talking myself down but after a 15 minute drive home it still took me 3 tries to sign in to my computer with shaking hands, and my breathing is still a bit too shallow and fast…I’m working on it. I just feel dirty and bothered. I’m not much of a fan of birds in cages, although I’ve owned a budgy and ducks in my lifetime that were kept in cages. Sometimes it can be done really nicely, like the way that Zoos Victoria manage their aviaries with healthy happy breeding birds that stick to their natural patterns both at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. This was just dirty and felt wrong.

Once I get past this, I’ll remember the good parts of the day that came before this experience. A drive around Hall Village, and some fun shopping at Gold Creek. But for now I need a distraction to clear my mind and wash it clean.

Maybe this would have happened anyway today, some anxiety, some panic; I don’t know. Today is a big day, other than the above: it’s moving house day! I’m sorry to leave my lovely brother and sister in law and Peanut, but it’ll be nice to spread our wings as grandma put it, and to leave my stuff all over the house! Hubby is already having nerves of his own over me spreading out, I’m sure!! Moving is a big deal because it means leaving the one comfort zone that I have in Canberra. Now everything is new: accommodation, still newish city, suburb, places. The quicker I make myself at home, and feel like its really home, the better. I had settled where we were, I knew my way around the suburb and into the city, I knew where the shops where that I needed, where to find the nature reserves. Now I’m starting over and that’s stressful to a degree. So maybe the anxiety was already there before the aviary and maybe it affected the way that I experienced it. Maybe I did overreact. Who knows? As always I’m trying to be positive and hold on to the thought that I can do this, but it takes a toll. Like packing took a toll; it really drained me! Partly because I didn’t want to pack up because it meant leaving, partly just because its tedious. The unknowns are always the killer for anyone with anxiety, depression, mental illness, and for other people to, I realise. They play on your mind until you’re frazzled and frayed. But positive thoughts right?

The other trigger for a panic attack today was thinking about someone I knew who passed away from suicide earlier in the year. I talked about it here. Somehow my head just got on that train of thought: how sick he was, how he’d always been impulsive, how awful things must have been for him to consider suicide, could anything have prevented it or was it inevitable, and so on. So I was probably in a funny frame of mind before the whole aviary thing. Not in a way that I was considering it for myself, just feeling bad for someone else to be that sick and understanding it.

Our apartment is on the second floor, a small flight of steps up and its small but I think we’ll be good here. One bedroom, small bathroom but big shower, cute small kitchen, full laundry in a cupboard, small verandah, and living/dining area, all designed for two. I don’t know if I could live in it forever but it’ll be grand for now. The one thing that I might struggle with is the underground car park…it’s fine I’m sure, but I just get a horror film/stalker type feeling going through the garage door…anyone know where I can buy pepper spray or a foghorn?

So to celebrate the occasion we had tea out altogether and a commemorative group photo with the self timer. The whole packing thing sucked, miscommunication causing some unpleasant moments with sulking and shouting! But we got there in the end, somehow; we seem to have expanded since we moved here. Well my stuff has, apparently hubby only has 2 bags, so why do I have so many bags??

And now to bed, I’m wrecked.

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