Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
I don’t like to write about negative things that happen, but sometimes it gets a grip on me and won’t let go until I put it down on paper.
This weekend I was along the canal where I often go to exercise and watch the birds and other wildlife. Usually it is relaxing. Not so this time. I was on the opposite side of the canal from a group of small boys who were all members of a group that will go nameless. They were having a great old time throwing rocks at the ring-necked ducks that I see regularly. But, this time the ducks, instead of serenely paddling along with the occasional dive, were madly flapping, and fluttering, diving and paddling wildly…. obviously in distress.
I couldn’t help myself. I hollered across the canal for them to stop throwing the rocks and harassing the ducks. All I got in return was more rocks and the look that says, “What is wrong with that woman?” I wasn’t the only one attempting to stop the behavior as I passed two gentlemen who said that they had also tried to stop them.
OK, so maybe I should have let it go, knowing that boys will be boys, but what really got to me were the adults, men and women, standing watching and laughing. This could have been a teachable moment. It wasn’t.
Let’s look past the danger to native, protected wildlife part of the issue. Let’s look past the potential danger of throwing rocks; let’s look past the crazy woman telling them to stop harassing the ducks; let’s look past the two nice gentlemen asking the adults to oversee the kids they were supposed to be leading. Let’s look past a missed opportunity.
But let’s not look past a simple lesson in compassion and respect for other living things….a pretty incredible lost opportunity….a teachable moment to mentor young boys about respect for life, for helping not hurting innocent things. I shudder to think of what will happen when they get their first bb or pellet guns.
Instead, my outrage resulted in being called a sociopath. That kind of made me laugh, and I restrained myself from telling him that he should better understand the meaning of a word before using it…incorrectly. I did chuckle a bit as I turned and left, but at the same time I felt so sorry for these young boys who had no guidance, who should have had a wiser leader who could have used the moment so much better than seeing their leader yelling “sociopath” at the back of a somewhat irate woman….maybe ‘enraged one’ would have been a better choice….it would certainly have been more correct.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 144.
A few interesting stories this week as the intake rate is still on the slow side – which, in view of our impending migration to the new facility, is a good thing! The condor is still with us though her improvement is not all we had hoped at this point. She will go in for an endoscopic exam which will be posted here next week. A couple of interesting waterfowl came in this week as packing (and some actual moving to a new storage unit) has begun. We got in another glue trap victim, this time a Mexican free-tail bat who sadly didn’t survive his ordeal. And speaking of repeat injuries, we received a duck with fishing gear involvement and a Canada goose that had been shot with a very expensive arrow. Let’s take a look, and hopefully learn something…
Looking like a stand-in for Aflac, this white duck was brought in with fishing line wrapped tightly around his leg and a discarded fish hook in his bill. There’s not much more to be said about fishing gear vs wildlife, especially water fowl. Mixing the two never turns out well for the animal and there can’t be much in it for the fisherman either. Please pass the word along to everyone you know who goes fishing: don’t discard gear – line, hooks, sinkers – any fishing gear, in any place other than a defined refuse container. It’s heartbreaking to come across these birds and animals suffering from someone’s carelessness.
Let’s move on to another waterfowl injury, this time not from some accidental encounter with fishing equipment. This one was a Canada goose that had been shot with a hunting arrow – no accident here! The shaft pierced the bird’s pelvis and pectoral muscle, narrowly missing the aorta and trachea. If there was anything lucky about this, it was that the arrow didn’t have a hunting tip which are designed to cause more damage when they penetrate. The bird is now resting in the ICU and we’re watching closely for signs of infection from water in the wound.
Some waterfowl present their own danger – to rescuers and rehabbers. This feisty cormorant has bitten and scratched a few volunteers already and Joanie wisely took precautions by donning the recommended hand and eye protecting gear while holding the bird for this week’s Vet Night activities.
The digital X-ray unit we have for the new facility should speed things up considerably as we move into the future. Currently, we have to either take the birds and animals to another facility for radiography, or wait until Sunday when Dr. Sorum arrives with his portable unit. Then the files are reviewed by Dr. Orr or one of the other vets when they have the opportunity to be in the office to bring the picture up on Jan’s computer. We’re looking forward to accelerating the whole process when we move into our new home!
Recently we sent a couple of Harris’ hawks down to Dr. Driggers for surgery to put pins in their fractured legs. Dr. Sorum attended and actually did one of the surgeries with Dr. Driggers assistance and the result was a resounding success. Both vets seemed to be pleased and this added skill for Dr. Sorum will be most useful in the new facility. Last week Dr. Orr removed the external fixator (stabilizing pins) as the fractures are healing well. The pins must be cut from the external brace and then extracted using some tools normally used by a mechanic in a garage. In this case, they were wielded skillfully by Dr. Orr as she performed the operation on the more delicate structures of the bird’s leg.
This Week’s progress update on the new facility