So, picture this: Wellington’s iconic 70’s art installation the bucket fountain, in Cuba Mall. A small boy is standing on the edge, waiting for the buckets to tip, happy/excited that he might get splashed, his mum watching benevolently from the other side (where I too am walking). An elderly couple are also walking by, behind the child. And then . . . a pigeon flies at the fountain, crashes and falls into the water right in front of the lad. Cue childish shrieks (everyone around looks, is it a child that has fallen in?), and one of the older ladies leaps into action. She hands her handbag to her companion, plunges her arms in up to the elbows, and with amazing precision she grabs the pigeon and pulls it out of the water. And is left standing there, baffled, her hands full of damp struggling pigeon. Bird is deposited in a nearby planter, and 15 seconds after the life and death drama began it is all over, everything returns to normal.
All happened much to fast to get my camera out, even if it had a suitable lens attached, which it didn’t. So, to illustrate this tiny tale, here’s the bird still hiding in the foliage when I walked back up the mall 20 minutes later, a manky mangled thing not glamourised by 8.5mm fisheye lens, and a crop so the bedraggled mankiness is even more manifest. But I do wish I could have caught that lady’s kingfisher-precise retrieval, or the expression on her face as she wondered what to do with a concussed bird.