After a meeting on Friday, I stopped to visit a friend and fellow animal rescuer in New Jersey. She was concerned because on her morning walk with her dogs, she noticed two extremely friendly ducks in an area that is populated by geese along the Hudson River. She checked with a friend who also walks dogs in this area, who confirmed she had not seen the ducks previously either.
Off we went to inspect the situation. Upon our arrival, we found them – two lone ducks who came up to us wagging. (Yes, ducks wag their little feathery tails).
Clearly, the ducks were pets that had been dumped. We sprung into action. I emailed and texted friends who work in animal rescue. My friend called The Rapture Trust, one of the premier wild bird rehabilitation centers in the United States located in New Jersey. They confirmed that the ducks were likely pets and dumped and provided us with the names and contacts of local duck rescuers. We asked what the ducks would eat and were instructed to give them grass or greens.
After leaving voicemail messages for the duck rescuers, we headed off to a local grocery store and embarked on a shopping spree. We grabbed several kinds of lettuce, string beans, and watercress.
Back we went to the shores of the Hudson River and offered our new feathery friends a Smörgåsbord of greens. They picked at the watercress and dismissed everything else. Geese came and closely watched the situation.
Several people stopped along the walkway and told us to call animal control. We explained animal control would come and take the ducks to be killed. We were looking for a humane alternative.
We set out a dish of water and immediately the two ducks started to drink. And drink. And drink. They were clearly dehydrated and wanted water more than food.
Enraged at the fact that these ducks were clearly dumped, we hit the phones again, determined to find someone to help us. Finally, we received a call back from a local duck rescuer. A woman in northern New Jersey agreed to come to our aid and help catch the ducks and bring them to her home on the shores of a lake where the ducks would be cared for. Stay tuned for a photo update…
Food for Thought:
Though the world is filled with animal lovers, it is not every person who has the time to dedicate an afternoon to helping animals in need, like these ducks. We spent hours on the phone finding rescue groups who specialized in this specific animal, who we knew would help—but more importantly—bring no harm to these ducks.
The “easy” option, and that of many well intentioned individuals, would have been to call animal control. But their fate, more than likely, would have been an unpleasant one.
Please support your local wildlife rehabilitators, as they are providing a service that many local governments and animal control agencies are not offering – compassionate care.