Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Howard-Harold the Duck

Saturday morning I get up and pack my kids and my mother in the car to head to the Farmer's Market.
I expected to find some yummy homegrown organic greens, fruits, meats, eggs, and what-not's.

What I didn't expect to find was a Duck.

A real live duck. On the busy highway, against the curb.

My heart dropped as I sped past and saw him out of the corner of my eye. I immediately stopped and turned around and asked my mom if she saw that. Then she said yeah what was it and I said it looked like a duck. So, I popped a u-turn in the middle of the road and turn into the gas station and get out and run over to the highway. There he was. So sad. Bleeding, busted up, hunched over, and just there. I snatched him up instinctively and wrapped him up in my shirt, making sure to cover his eyes. He was so calm. Too calm.

I kept his eyes covered, so not to freak him out anymore than he already was, and started to Google vets near our location. We went to a couple of vets, just to be told that they could not handle "wildlife".

I called the GA Wildlife Rescue and nothing, I called 2 local rehabs, and nothing.

I sat in the parking lot of one of the vet's office and thought very hard over what to do.

I wasn't a vet. I only rescue animals and get them treatment. I didn't know how to care for a duck. Especially a duck that looked like he was attacked by a dog and had a broken beak. He needs his beak. How will he eat? How will he drink? Is his head supposed to be THAT crooked?

No. Clue.

So, I took him back over to the lake and placed him back into the water.

He didn't move, swim, budge, quack, nothing.

I saw the nearby geese and felt like they would have ganged up on him if he was just there in the open. So, I found a little cove with some brush and hid him there until he was no longer in shock and could swim out. And I left.

My heart was so heavy.

I went ahead to the Farmer's Market and picked up my groceries. At one point I sent the picture I had taken of the duck to my hubby.

Once he saw the picture, he called me and asked me why I had a duck and what happened.
I explained to him the story and he asked me where he was. I told him that I placed him back at the lake and not to worry, I wasn't bringing it home.
Then he said, what?! He is hurt. Go find him and bring him home.

I was shocked.

OK. Don't have to tell me twice!

I headed back to the lake and he floated, not swam, floated further down. I rolled up my pants and walked into the lake to retrieve that baby!

My hubby called and said he would meet me at the store to buy him a kiddie pool, and some food.

So off we went to the store. Once I arrived, I didn't want to leave him in the car. {I'm one of those, HEY! I will smash your windows in if I see an animal unattended in your car when it's hot outside, types of people}

And there was my amazing mothers day gift from my hubby. A woven bag that screamed "Duck Carrier" to me. He was still wrapped up and fit perfectly in the bag.
Off we went.

I had a little mini hand held fan over him so he didn't get too warm in there. But he was soaked from the lake and the water was surprisingly cold.

We grabbed him a pool, some seeds, some berries, worms, crickets, and headed home.

My husband got home before I did and had his pool already set up, filled with water, and the dogs put up.

We came in and I put him in the pool to cool down and drink some water. He was content. He started to swim around and duck his beak in to drink some water.

I cleaned his beak up and put some homemade salve on it.
I tried to feed him, but his beak was so messed up, he didn't feel like opening it. This is where the tough love came into play. I knew that if he didn't eat something, he would die. I gently rubbed the tip of his beak with my finger and he barely opened up. But enough to wear I could place my finger there to hold it ajar so that I could put some smushed berry in there. He loved it. I tried this a few more times throughout the night.

I took him out of the pool and let him forage in the grass and wooded area for awhile and then he curled up in some grass and fell asleep. This scene went on for a couple of days. He slowly got better and started to make noises, run from the dogs, flap his wings, hold himself up, and so many other things he wasn't doing when he arrived.
Him and my pup Frankie became buds.

Side thought: I swear I attract hurt animals. They FLOCK to me. Not that I mind. For example:
These baby birds kept following me. They would not go to their mum in the tree. But I loved it. They were so sweet and cuddly. Eventually, I was able to put them all in the tree and run off so they couldn't catch me. They were just learning how to fly and their nest was in the playground in our neighborhood and I just knew that they would be stepped on.


So, There he was, this beautiful mallard duck chilling in my backyard.
After a couple of days, I started to notice that he was getting harder to catch, made a lot more noise, and was opening his beak!
So, yesterday, we took him to a lake up the street from us and let him go.

At first he wouldn't move. So, I touched his tail feathers and he flitted off. He swam and dove and drank til his little heart was content. I had never seen him dive, so I was thankful to see that. That to me was a good sign. By the way, the first picture of this scene was not of me throwing him. He saw the local geese and freaked out and I was trying to keep him from falling. Yes, I know he has wings. Motherly instinct, sorry.

Howard the duck, named by my hubby, knows as Harold to me, is living the life now.

I will be checking up on him though, making sure he stays out of trouble, and to check his beak.
This was only part of my eventful weekend.
How was yours?

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