18 October 2023

Injured galah goes missing in Goulburn - have you seen her?

| Sally Hopman
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Man with injured galah

Ross Luff of Goulburn with the missing galah. This picture was taken after he bandaged her damaged wing, not long after she turned up at his home. Photo: Supplied.

Back in 2019 when a galah with a broken wing suddenly appeared in the Queen Street, Goulburn garden of Ross Luff, everyone, including two vets, told him to put her down.

But Ross was having none of it. She was not going to die. But he was also not going to make a pet of her and lock her in a cage knowing she was a wild bird.

He just wanted to care for her and provide a safe space along with regular food and fresh water. He also deliberately didn’t give her a name, “because she wasn’t a pet”.

And up until recently, the plan worked well.

He built a home for her in a cage that he never locked, which she could open for herself using her beak. She slept there, albeit on top of the cage rather than inside it.

But on Tuesday (17 October), Ross couldn’t find her anywhere. He knew she spent most of her days near the cage or sitting on a branch of one of the shrubs in his garden so he checked all her favourite places, but he couldn’t track her down.

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“She has been free to come and go as she likes for years now,” Ross said. “She even has a mate who comes to visit her most days – they sit and preen each other.

“She’s gone missing a couple of times before but I’ve usually found her across the road at the neighbour’s place. But I’ve walked the whole neighbourhood and I can’t see her anywhere.”

Ross said his fear was that she had been found by someone who, because she didn’t fly away, thought she was a pet and had taken her away to put in a cage.

He was less concerned that she had been attacked by cats or other animals “because she can really fend for herself”.

“When this cat came into our backyard a while ago, probably thinking she was easy prey, the galah reared up and the cat took off,” Ross said.

two galahs

The missing galah, left, the one with the droopy wing, and her mate in the Goulburn garden. She went missing on Tuesday and her human guardian angel, Ross Luff, is keen to know she’s safe. Photo: Ross Luff.

Ross said when she arrived in his garden, he made a concerted effort to never lock her up. Although she can’t fly because of her damaged wing, he said she “can flap about a bit and jump a metre or so”.

A keen nature lover, Ross said his pink cockatoo, which he’s had since he was nine years old, provided companionship for the galah when her mate was not around.

“He was rejected by his mother when he fell out of the nest so we’ve had him ever since,” he said. “We’ve built him a cage but he’s never locked in.”

Ross has posted on Facebook asking for the return of the galah, saying he wants to continue giving her the quiet, secure life she’s had since turning up in his garden.

“She’s probably had about three or four extra years of life by being here,” he said. “We would just like her back to live out the rest of her years.”

Anyone with any information about the missing galah can contact Ross via email at [email protected] or leave a message in the comments below.

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