At 5.30pm today I was riding my motorcycle along Parkes Way and as I approached the large roundabout at Civic I noticed a car stopped in the fast lane at an angle. There were no other cars but the hazard lights were on and traffic was slowing to move around it. As I rode past a man was standing in front of the car which seemed quite unusual until I noticed a large black swan laying motionless on the road. It was obvious that one of the lovely swans that swim around in the roundabout pond didn’t manage to negotiate it’s way across the parkway while heading to Commonwealth Park.
I decided to pull off to offer my assistance given I had protective gear on that can be quite handy if you need to move an injured animal. I took one look at the size of the bird and decided there was no way I’d be moving it. The good news was that the bird was alive and looked like it might live if it got some help. That’s when I met Mr Good Citizen, James who was already busy on the phone being shuffled from Police to Canberra Connect to the RSPCA and back to Canberra Connect so they could call a Ranger.
I’m glad I met him as he was just a passer by who saw the swan lying in the middle of the road and decided not to just drive off like many others, including whoever hit the bird in the first place. We sat on the side of the road for safety and warned traffic the best we could to avoid his car and the swan. About five minutes later the bird actual stood up and things began to look a bit better. I thought it’s wing was broken but a bit later as it began to stretch it seemed more like it was just taking a while to come back from a state of shock. Eventually it attempted to walk over to the medium strip and stumbled three or four times trying to negotiate the curb but it finally made it to the safety of the grass.
We continued to watch it while waiting for a ranger who arrived fairly quickly with a net and gloves. At this point things got ugly again as the bird decided to try and get across the road once more which involved crossing over the two lane roundabout’s exit on to Parkes Way.
James saved the bird’s life once again by standing by it and warning the traffic which gave the Ranger time to come and try to net it. It sounds a bit dangerous but everyone had more than enough room to drive around except for one cranky driver who decided he could care less and drove right up to James and the Swan to honk and scream at them. He even stopped the car in traffic, got out and abused us again. And for good measure after making a call on his mobile he abused us again as he drove by.
So today I saw the best and worst in people. The story has a nice ending as well. On the final attempt to net the swan it took to flight skimming across the pond and coming to a safe landing on the other side. We all decided it would stress it more to be chasing it given it obviously could now fend for itself and decided to leave well enough alone. Just as the ranger was packing up a women who saw some of this pulled over to say, ‘can you help the poor mother duck and her ducklings stuck in the middle of the Glenloch Interchange?’. With that the Ranger jumped in his truck and headed off to the next adventure.