Animal Dilemmas – Flamingo Flying Fox
The murderous Flying Fox instituted terror throughout the colony. It recruited all young foxes that were in doubt and continued to raid farms devastating entire crops. The farmers did not hesitate and retaliated, contracting teams of hunters to eradicate the pests. Many died shot down from the trees in their sleep. The colony split in few small groups driven deeper into the forest away from the fertile river banks.
One of the groups was led by the dictator and consisted of its surviving generals and a few young recruits. Instead of following their instincts and retreating into the wild, the Flying Fox led them in the opposite direction pass the farms and to the sea coast. Many died along the way shot down or caught in traps on the edges of farms. The troubled party lost a body nearly very day traveling through the densely populated coastal area.
Until the Flying Fox stood alone in a fig tree grove overlooking the flat coast dotted in pink. The greater flamingo population had exploded after the ocean current brought an immense school of shrimp close to shore. The Flying Fox was tired and beaten and felt old. There was plenty of figs in the grove so it settled and never left. It gazed at the ocean and the flamingo colony’s elegant routine.
The flamingos stirred the mud in the shallow waters with their feet and dipped their bills filtering out small shrimp and snails. They could live a long life when there was resources and the current generation enjoyed years of plenty.
The greater flamingos lived long and grew tall. It was the mating season and the Flamingo had seem many summers on this very shore. Its offsprings were strong and survived forming a strong kin around it. Like previous years the Flamingo laid a single egg on a small mound of dirt and cared for it very much. The shore was littered eggs and the birds took to the shallow waters in search of shrimp. The Flamingo was tall and strong but never underestimated the dangers of the shore. It never wondered too far from its egg. It had known many generations of flamingos and had offered them its venerable advise. Some took it others brushed it aside.
The Flamingo had seem many eggs being devoured by birds of prey and collected by giant. It has enjoyed the times of plenty and grown taller than most. Its neighbors respected it and the wise once still asked it advise. The Flamingo knew that the times of plenty would not last forever and often shared its opinion with the rest. But what could a flamingo do, the rest said. They could not save shrimp for the years to come.
The Flamingo did not have a solution either. It could only overeat and hope for the best.
One day while the Flamingo was feeding, the Flying Fox took a flight over the colony. It saw all the white eggs glittering unattended and thought them to be fruits of sort. It landed and picked the Flamingo’s egg, poked it and tossed it about until it cracked. It licked the yellow liquid and spat it out.
The Flamingo was on its way back and saw the intruder as it killed its offspring before it took its first breath. It leaped with its great legs and landed on top of the Flying Fox poking at its head with its bill. It poked, blinded with rage until a red liquid spill out of the Flying Fox’s head.
The Flying Fox’s body sank into the damp mud and sand and started decomposing. The foul smell brought the omen that the years of plenty were over. The next year the shrimp were hard to find and the Flamingo did not participate in the mating rituals. The colony was silent and many young birds flew away in search of better shores. The Flamingo stayed in its place and looked at the sea. For many days it didn’t eat or look for shrimp. Its venerable neighbors that valued its advice brought it shrimp and small fish when they could and the Flamingo ate. It still gave advice but never mated again and hardly moved from its spot on the shore. Its great legs sank in the damp mud and sand and the bird gazed at the waters like a statue.
Its kin and neighbors admired its persistence and kept feeding it, glad to receive a sentence or two of wisdom in return. The Flamingo spoke rare but when it did it penetrated the souls of the birds. Soon groups of idle flamingos stared camping around it patiently waiting for it to speak. And when it did, they repeated its words so many times that everyone in the colony along with other traveling birds heard it and carried it far.
next chapter: Animal Dilemmas – Bar-headed Goose Flamingo
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photograph by Joe Wroten
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