"One small act of kindness might not change the world, but it can change the entire world of an individual."
Its 00:43, and I’m sat here writing this post, having had absolutely no plans of creating such content. Why am I up writing a post at this time? Well believe me when I tell you it’s not due to me struggling to sleep… I’m exceptionally good at that if I do say so myself. So, let’s take it back to a few hours earlier… 20:28 to be precise.
It was at this point that I received a call off my boyfriend, Dan, telling me that a friend of his had found a duckling turned on its head in the road. Whilst getting a call about a stranded duckling wasn’t exactly expected of my Tuesday evening, I can’t say it’s the first time I’ve had a completely unexpected message regarding wildlife in need.I asked whether the mother was anywhere to be seen, but she was nowhere in sight alongside the busy road she could have possibly been crossing with her young. Not wanting the duckling to get completely crushed or be left stranded and left to die, his friend scooped up the duckling into the safety of her car before reaching out for help.
Now I know there’s mixed opinions about when to interfere with wildlife, or if you ever should, but that’s another post and discussion entirely. In this case actions were taken with the best interest of the duckling at heart. The mother was nowhere to be seen and may have abandoned the duckling in order to prevent risking injury to any of her other baby’s whist trying to get back to it. In this case the duckling would have most certainly not survived on its own, even If it did avoid getting crushed by the oncoming traffic. I personally am of the view that we should help and take action where we can. In this instance after all, its likely that human presence was the cause of its separation from its family with our every growing network of roads fragmenting habitats, so we are accountable and hold a responsibility to fix what we break.
Anywayyyy, it wasn’t too long before the duckling (who his rescuer had now named Tim) arrived at my door. I also want to point out that, rightly so, before I was entrusted with the care of the duckling, my plan of action as to what exactly I was going to do with it was questioned, which I have a huge amount of respect for. I got Tim settled in a small pet carrier with a large towel encasing a hot water bottle. One of the most important things to ensure when dealing with young animals, is that they are kept warm. However, it’s also worth pointing out that the hot water bottle should be placed under them, not on top of them, and should never be left uncased. Use old clothing, towels or blankets to offer a comfortable warm area for them to nestle into. I know that may sound very condescending and obvious to some of you reading this, however I’ve heard first hand some of the horror stories that people who rescue animals often see.
The next priority was water. It took a little encouragement but Tim was soon taking small sips of water from a shallow bowl. Keeping him dry was another main priority. Although he’s a duck, Tim is so young that his feathers don’t yet have their oil coating which essentially acts as waterproofing. As a result, if he gets wet he will get cold extremely quickly and will have trouble when it comes to drying off. For this reason, I decided not to leave his water bowl in with him, as he was still a little wobbly on his feet.
I noticed he was having trouble opening his left eye, and after a closer inspection found an injury to his head. He also appeared to be quite lame on his right leg, and wings were also slightly disproportionate. He wasn’t looking great, but regardless, I was going to do everything I could to give him a fighting chance.
Despite taking in some fluids, Tim was still very weak. A combination of hunger, dehydration, tiredness and stress were very clearly taking its tole on him. I didn’t have high hopes of getting him to feed, but I prepared him a mixture nevertheless. I mashed up a small amount of banana with a small strawberry to make a pulp, before adding in some high energy suet pellets that I had allowed to soak and mashed up with warm water. I also added a small handful of oats to his water dish for him to fish out.
Feeding / watering commenced every half hour to an hour throughout the night depending on how much we had gotten him to take, with a hot water bottle refill when necessary (yes, thankfully I had Dan with me to split the shifts). By around half 12(00:31 to be precise – I’ve been logging his feeds) he was showing signs of increasing alertness.
The next day…. Post continued….
An hour later he was chirping away with a little hop skip and a jump thrown in there too.
6:00 am soon arrived along with a banging headache and a serious desire for a nap, but little Tim had made it through the night! The next hurdle was getting him settled into the rescue centre we had found for him.
Not long after he arrived at my house, I contacted the wonderful, Joan Lockley (if you don’t know who she is you can find out here) asking if she knew of any rescue centres for ducks. She gave me a list of numbers, and a few phone calls later we found a place we were content with the sound of; Wychbold Swan Rescue based in Droitwich.
As we got Tim settled for the journey, I was praying that it was going to be suitable for him, and I’m super happy to confirm that it was. We were greeted by the sight of several swans, geese and even chickens out on a green pasture area, before being taken into a small barn that housed ducklings at all life stages. Tim was by far the smallest duckling there, so he was placed in his own pen next to some slightly larger ducklings, with a heat pad, an overhead heat light and a shallow dish of water with bird feed. The centre rears and rehabilitates ducks and swans until they are fit to be released onto private property. This allows the ducks to settle into wild living without being pestered by more confident wild individuals.
I wasn’t lacking confidence in their ability to look after him, but after pointing out his injury and other concerns I had, I made it clear that should they find him a little too time consuming to call me, and I would go and collect him rather than them giving up on him. They assured us he was in capable hands and told us to call back in a few days for an update.
So that’s the unexpected story of little tiny Tim. As this was more of a story time post I am going to be doing another about what to do if you find a wild animal in need, and hopefully if I can arrange it, an update of Tim’s progress! So, keep an eye out!
I also want to say a HUGE thank you to Demi for her loving efforts of getting Tim to safety and for trusting me enough to allow me to take him in. As I like to say, one small act of kindness might not change the world, but it can change the entire world of an individual.
Now….where’s my bed…..