OBITUARY: Cockatoo activist David Patterson remembered

IT is with great sadness that we farewell cockatoo rehabilitation pioneer David Patterson, who passed away on Friday January 16th 2015.

David and his wife Dee have been running Jamarri, a cockatoo rehabilitation centre located near Helms block forest in Jalbarragup 20km southwest of Nannup, for the past 20 years.

Their devotion and commitment to create a optimal habitat for young and injured cockatoos to rest and finally be released into the nearby breeding and feeding grounds of Helms forest remains steadfast to this day.

David’s funeral service was held on Thursday January 22 at Nannup Town Hall with a very large turnout of family and close friends who gathered to celebrate the life of this compassionate, nurturing and caring soul.

On January 19 2015, a cockatoo conservation project aimed at reviving dwindling cockatoo populations in South West WA was given a $250,000 grant from Lotterywest. Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the project would help to protect threatened Baudin’s and forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.

This two year project aims to involve more than 1000 volunteers including school children from the areas of Perth and South West WA.

Mr Jacob presented the grant to Birdlife WA, saying it would allow the community to work with communities and State Government on conservation activities for the species.

Jamarri Black Cockatoo Sanctuary will reopen its doors once again on January 27.

The White-tailed Black Cockatoos break their unusually silent reflection and rise up screeching and calling, in raucous determination, gathering up the grief below and carrying it in a jagged billowing blanket. Sunlight merges with the pain and disperses it in their wake, leaving only desolate echoes suspended in the air, soon to fall into dust.

The trees. The trees. This one tree…

In a flash of colour, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, keepers of all that is sacred, weave and swoop above the brown earth, screeching their loaded elegy to the world – another sentinel of their forest has fallen, another soul has joined the spirit flock and now flies beyond. In fleeting fans of red and black, they soar and cry, their mournful calls tearing hearts open and setting free the hidden flames that light the way. This tree will not fall unnoticed, this tree is acknowledged, this tree is honoured.

A tree has fallen. Mother Nature reshuffles her eternal web to heal the wound and restore the balance. Silence returns as the wings fade on the horizon.

But we saw, we heard, we felt…and in our hearts, where those no longer earthbound continue to reach from the shadows into the light, we will never forget.

RIP David

Comments