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Photo: JL Poplin

May 14, 2001

Cordelia bird center swimming in ducklings

“We’re swamped,” said Coleen Doucette, rehabilitation manager, “and we could really use more volunteers.” Doucette and her crew have been working non-stop to feed and house the ducklings they have been getting from the surrounding counties for the past month. “It’s been an early spring for ducks. We've already raised and released the first batch of orphans.”

Once the spring frost is over, hormones kick in and duck courtships begin. This year that started early. Approximately 28 days later, make way for ducklings as the mothers lead their families to the nearest watering hole. Unfortunately, in our increasingly developing urban area, that water is in a swimming pool.

Why so may ducklings?

Doucette sees the rapid development occurring in the surrounding counties as a big part of what is putting ducks and humans at odds. “Ducks typically nest in the same place each year and many times the place that used to be wild is now a subdivision,” she observed.

Mallards and humans are increasingly competing for waterfront real estate. Many of the mallard ducklings, goslings and orphan wood ducks are transfers from Wildlife Care in Sacramento, the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County and the Lindsey Museum in Walnut Creek who now sends them to International Bird Rescue’s new facility, which specializes in waterfowl and aquatic birds.

With almost 400 birds in their care, Doucette fears that she will have to stop taking ducklings if she doesn’t get more volunteers. She is appealing to the public to consider donating time or money so she doesn’t have to do that.

For now, the orphans at Bird Rescue lead the cushy life – the staff however, is exhausted. As cute as they are, ducklings are a lot of work with constant feeding and cleaning. Even though they grow very quickly, its at least six weeks before they have enough feathers and can safely be released. The staff at Bird Rescue is working with 25 volunteers but actually need 100 for optimum care of the 10,000 square foot facility and its patients. Volunteers need to commit to 4 hours a week and must be at least 18 years of age. Other than that and a love for animals, training is provided and volunteers are able to rise to the level of supervisor, which means they have the basic medical skills to be hands on wildlife rehabilitators.

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Media contact:

Karen Benzel
Office: (831) 622-7588
E-mail: karen@ibrrc.org

 

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