Sunday, April 24, 2011
Rescuing the Loon and the Contest Winner
Last week while I walked the beach, I came upon a bird lying on the sand. As the tide came in, the water lapped at it, but the bird didn't fly away or stand up or try to escape. Clearly it had been hurt. A family walking behind me stopped too, and a couple of men came from their home to check on the bird--they'd seen it before and wondered if it was still there.
Then a man approached with his dog. The bird called, a trilling sound that ran up and down the scale, but it couldn't take flight nor could it run. A fisherman came over, examined it, and said it was a loon. Locally they call these "mud ducks." You can see how it looked by the photo above, but I must say, she was much more beautiful in real life, with large brown eyes, a graceful neck and a long (sharp!) beak. I think it was a juvenile.
The two men went back to where they were staying and brought a towel and a box. We all worked to get the bird into the box. Two boys from the family offered the carry the box to my garage. Once we had the bird and box situated, I called the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. They answered their emergency number, telling me that if the bird wasn't bleeding, I should bring it in the next day.
Which I did. Unfortunately, the bird got pretty excited and, well, the mess it made seeped through the cardboard box and onto the passenger seat in my car. Tomorrow I'll take it in to be detailed. I sure hope they can get the smell of digested and excreted fish out of my car!
I'm not happy about the stink, but I am happy that maybe we saved the bird's life. I'm calling Busch tomorrow to hear what the vet tech discovered about the bird's condition.
We share this earth with plants and animals and resources such as the ocean. Humans take so much, and destroy so much, that once in a while to do a little favor for nature is simply the price of admission. To see such a beautiful animal up close, to hear the looping sound of its call, was a thrill.
I just hope I don't have to smell the after effects forever!
Last week, Mason Canyon not only was the first commenter to correctly identify my carwash photo, but in a random drawing Mason won. So, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your postal address, Mason, so I can get a copy of Make, Take, Murder to you.