On Saturday I took one of my white canes to the Southwest duck pond right next to my apartment to take some photos for our blog and instagram pages. I had fun luring the squirrels and birds over with peanuts, and I got some great photographs.
As I was finishing up I heard, “Get that lady to help, she’s a woman, the ducks won’t run from her.”
I turned around thinking, “OMG! How sexist! Now what crazy thing is about to happen to me?”
A strange inebriated man was approaching me and telling me he had a baby duck that he needed to get back to its mother. I said,”None of these ducks are mothers.” They were obviously male mallards since they had emerald green heads. I hadn’t seen any babies nearby either. The man was upset and cradling a duckling in his t-shirt. He wanted me to put the duckling near the other ducks to see if they would take care of him. I remember two strong feelings: rescue the duck and get out of this weird situation. I completely forgot I was supposed to social distance so I went and took the duckling from him and placed it near the other ducks. I got a good whiff of some kind of alcohol as I took the duck from him. He told me all about how fifteen ducklings were jumping from the big S on the safeway sign and how he was catching them in his shirt so they wouldn’t get hurt. I don’t really remember why he still had this particular duckling, but he and his friend had been walking all over the place for about 6 hours trying to find the duck’s mother. I told him that I have lots of experience raising ducks and that I would happily take this duckling off his hands.
He and his friend were so relieved. They just knew they had needed to find a woman for this duck. LOL! As I was walking away with the duckling, they called out “What are you going to name it?” Then they looked sad and said, “Oh no, you can’t name it because we don’t know if it's a boy or a girl duck.”
Quick thinker that I am, I say, “How about Kelly? It can be for a boy or a girl.” They happily agreed and I headed home wondering how the heck did I just end up with a duckling?
The only thing I had to keep a duckling in was the plastic bin I use for cooking sous vide. I lined it with a washcloth and put in a dish of water. I chopped up some peanuts and greens and put them in a small dish next to the water. I covered the top with a cooling rack for cookies and set a heat lamp from another pet adventure on top. The duckling acted weak and pitiful, cheeped a bit, and then went to sleep.
I really did have chickens and ducks back in Texas, and I wasn’t sure if this duckling was gonna make it. I decided to wait until the next day to take it to City Wildlife. I figured this duckling had probably been stressed enough for one day.
After it’s nap, I had an active angry duckling on my hands. It cheeped and cheeped and cheeped. It wanted its mama. It jumped into its water bowl and splashed water everywhere. It ate the peanuts and the greens and cheeped some more. I had forgotten how messy ducks are. I changed his water four times that afternoon and he immediately jumped in again each time. The video shows him playing in his water bowl.
Finally it was bedtime for duckling. I moved him to the kitchen since it's the warmest room of the house and hoped for the best. He slept most of the night. Except when he didn’t. I think I had to get up 4 times to check on the noisy little baby. The next morning he was doing great so I let him go for a quick swim in the bathtub. He loved it and tried to bite me when I took him out! I dried him off and put him back in the sous vide container. You can hear him cheeping in the bathtub in the video below.
Finally it was time to take him to the DC Animal Shelter where City Wildlife would pick him up. My friend and fellow blog writer Olivia went with me for moral support and to block the holes in the banker box so he wouldn’t escape. She renamed him Safeway (a much better name), and was immediately in love with the little thing. We passed him off to the Humane Society and told them he was a feisty duckling. The officer brought me a form to fill out and sheepishly admitted that the duckling had already escaped the box, but was now secure! I was assured that there were lots of ducklings at City Wildlife right now and he would make lots of friends.
It’s never a good idea to remove a duckling from its mother and if he had been left alone, mom probably would have come back for him. Trust me, she would have heard him cheeping for her!
If you have a wildlife encounter this spring, City Wildlife is a great resource. Animal control will even pick up your creature and deliver it to them to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild if possible.
What crazy encounters have you had with DC wildlife? Let us know in the comments or share your own story on our blog.
My White Cane
My White Cane is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program – it is designed to provide an aid for the websites in earning an advertisement fee – by means of advertising and linking to Amazon.com products.
© COPYRIGHT 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.