Saturday, January 29, 2011


There is good news on Joey, the white Pekin duck rescued Thursday after sustaining a gashing, gaping wound on his back.
Apparently, though only at the Animal Hospital a day, Joey already has a "fan club."  He is such a friendly and social bird that everyone loves him.   "He had to have been raised as a pet!" Rita, of the Wildbird Fund told me in a phone message last night.
This news both pleases, but at the same time, distresses when I think of Joey's two siblings who vanished from the Meer last spring and are presumed to have fallen victim to human cruelty.
I tried to say all along that the three Pekins were dumped pets and should have been pulled from the Meer a long time ago.   Perhaps had they been, Joey's two siblings would still be alive.
As matters are, Joey had to sustain a life-threatening injury in order to warrant rescue. 
The injury to Joey is still in question.   For some reason, the vets seem to think the wound is an old one and was caused by a dog.   But, that just cannot be. 
I and other people feeding Joey would have noticed earlier dog attack injuries.  Joey has always been the picture of health and vitality with feathers as white as the driven snow. --
That is, until three nights ago.   There was never a mark on Joey until then.
Apparently, someone else noticed the wound on Joey before I did the other day and called the rangers for rescue.  The rangers had been to the Meer the day before I met them and tried to rescue Joey without success.
In any event, Joey is eating well, walking around and making friends.   He is getting two medicated baths a day and receiving antibiotics.   But, it could take six months for Joey's ravaged skin to grow back and heal itself. That would be a long time for him to remain at a crowded and overburdened vet clinic. Rita claims to have a permanent home for Joey when he is recovered.  But, she asked if I knew of any possible fosters?   Right now, Joey is taking up a cage that could be used to help a bird in a more dire situation. 
Of course, I don't know of any possible duck fosters.  I can't even find fosters for cats and dogs!
I just can't get out of my head the affirmation that Joey was a dumped pet.  How truly hard was it for him to survive -- especially when his two siblings were so cruelly and ruthlessly snatched up last spring?
Again, the acknowledgement and gratitude has to go to the two flightless (and also domestic ducks) Brad and Angelina for literally taking the orphaned Joey under their wings (Though not without a hell of a lot of initial fighting and rejection).   There is no doubt that without BrAdgelina, Joey would never have made it -- especially through this brutal winter.
Speaking of Brad and Angelia, the last thing I promised them when leaving Thursday morning was that the mallards "would be back!"
Well, not to brag, but do I know these birds --or do I know these birds?
As promised, the mallards were back last night -- and they apparently brought a flock of Canada geese with them!
So lost in a hungry, swarming sea of brown, I had to actually look for Brad and Angelina!
But, they were there and they, like the rest of the birds were extremely hungry.
I have learned to always go to Harlem Meer prepared for anything.   So, even though only leaving 4 ducks at the Meer the other day, I knew the mallards would return.   I packed a big bag of cracked corn, millet and sunflower seeds last night.  I also brought the smaller of my two cameras.
And low and behold, there were the same 24 or so mallards and at least two dozen geese!
ALL of the birds started to approach me eagerly as soon as I arrived at the Meer with my two dogs, Tina and Chance.
The geese are apparently returnees and seem to *know* my dogs and me.  They showed no fear or wariness.  (Or, perhaps they were just desperately hungry?)  I am wondering if they are the same geese who were so cruelly and foolishly harassed and chased from the Meer six weeks ago by "Geese Relief" -- along with Hector, the swan (who has yet to ever return at all.)?
The geese came up to me and voraciously ate out of my hands.  The desperate mallards nipped at my feat.   I could not get the food out of the bag fast enough.  
I have NEVER seen such desperately hungry birds in my life!
Within minutes all the food was gone! 
As I went to get my tethered dogs and prepare to leave, the geese and mallards started to follow me!  "No, no,  get back guys!  I have no more for you!"  
The geese and mallards began to slowly retreat and I quickly left with my dogs.
The good news in all this is that the arrival of the geese resulted in a much larger pool of open water for Brad, Angelina and the rest of the mallards.  The pool was at least triple in size last night!
The bad news is that with the grounds completely saturated in up to 4 feet of snow and the lake 99.99% frozen, there is simply not the food resources to sustain both the mallards and the geese.
I suspect that the desperate geese will have to be on their way again either tomorrow or the next day to seek available food and open water sources elsewhere. 
I just have no idea where the geese can or will go.  They'd have to fly to Florida practically to find grass and open waters now, as the entire east coast has been so ravaged by snow this past month or so. 
It is snow on top of snow and ice atop ice at this point.
No "shelter from the storm" for the geese -- in more ways than one.
Still, it was so good to see the geesies last night. And at least to know that before they make their next trip, there will be a little food in their bellies. 
May God look down upon and safely guide the geesies and the other birds -- as He has finally looked upon and brought salvation to Joey.  -- PCA

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