Duck on the Lake
Several days before Christmas, a concerned citizen noticed that there was a duck stuck out on the ice on a lake near an apartment complex. Since he lives there, he recognized the duck as one of the "residents" of the lake throughout the year. Even though there were a lot of other geese and ducks in the open water area of the lake, this male duck would not join the others. After a couple days of observing him, Nick deciders that we needed to get involved. We did what we call a recon mission on Saturday, and observed the duck. Nick was using plastic containers with ice melt in them to throw out on the ice, in hopes of melting the ice around the duck. After a while, we observed that the duck was able to get and flap his wings and stand on hiss feet, but he still wasn't going into the water. We decided to wait one more day and see what happened. On Sunday morning, NIck called again. The duck had not moved into the open water again, even though the entire group of birds had been up on the ice during the night with the injured duck, but then went to open water once the sun came up. We actually used my son's remote control snowmobile, along with a fishing line and fishing rod of another apartment dweller to go out to the duck and see if he would move. After another rehabber family brought their flat ottoman boat to the lake, two people got into the boat and went out onto the ice to rescue the duck. It was rather unnerving for me, as one of the people in the boat, was my teenage son. After he snagged the duck in a fishing net, those of us on shore pulled the boat back to shore and we put the duck in an animal carrier. We took him home and got him situated in a cage so that he could recover. For the first few days, the duck would not move out of his kennel. After about a week, he was finally up and around and now moves toward us when we fill up his water bowl and his feeding dish. We are not sure what his original problem was, other than possibly he had sprained or strained his leg while landing on the lake. Maybe he misjudged his landing and landed too hard on the ice, thinking it was open water. We plan on releasing him in the spring, once the winter is past.
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Vikki Henry - Omaha Wildlife Rehabber