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. Its 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 Rescues 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 doesnt
get more volunteers. She is appealing to the public to consider
donating time or money so she doesnt 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
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