Tragedy for Blonde Bombshell #2

July 7th, 2015         8 comments

This is a sad post with unsettling photos. You may want to pass it by. It’s especially tragic because I had a part in making the outcome worse than it should have been. For the past five days, I’ve attempted to capture Blonde Bombshell #2, a domestic duck with Saxony ancestry. On July 1, I discovered her right leg had monofilament fishing line knotted around it. Each night, I’ve gone to the pond after the crowds have left for the day hoping I could lure her close enough with duck chow to nab her. She remained just out of reach.

Franny's foot is still hobbled by fishing line on her legOn Sunday evening, I noticed her foot was beginning to show signs the knotted line had tightened so last night, before venturing to the pond, I contacted Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary to see if Matt and Theresa Lyson, founders, would be able to meet me late in the evening after the ducks had settled down for the night. Prior to that, Bombshell is in the water taking her two ducklings to natural food sources on the pond.

Before their arrival, Bombshell was spotted on the pond embankment with her ducklings. The Hysen family, visiting relatives from their Tennessee home, were observing the ducks with me. Jim, the dad, was able to nab the duck while I distracted her with duck chow pellets. What we found was disconcerting.

Jim holds the domestic hen firmly after capture Jim was charged to hold the hen until Matt and Theresa arrived amid prime mosquito time at the pond

As Jim held her (above left), I found her foot ice cold. She no longer had circulation below the tightly wound fishing line. Even with the aid of a pocket knife, I was unable to dig the line out of the groove it had created in her leg (below) so Jim was charged with holding her firmly until the Lysons arrived. It was probably the longest 15 minutes of his life since mosquitoes were sampling his blood and he couldn’t swat them.

I attempted to remove the fishing line but was only partially successful

Matt and Theresa arrived with tweezers and other tools to remove the line. He’s had numerous encounters with  carelessly discarded fishing line entangling ducks in the past. This one is surely one of his worst. The skin from more than half of her foot sloughed off as we worked (below right), the result of all circulation being cut off.

The skin on the sole of her right foot sloughed off The skin on the top of the foot was in worst shape due to the lack of circulation

The Lysons will provide expert care at the Sanctuary
They intended to take her home, clean the extensive wound and apply wound dressings. The next step is unknown. The injury is extensive enough she will probably lose her lower leg and foot although ducks have the fortitude to surprise  us. Had I called them just a day earlier, it might have been saved so I feel especially bad about this.

Before they left, they decided Bombshell would be less stressed if her two ducklings were captured and taken with her. With one deft swoop of his net, Matt caught both. Hatched on June 11, they are old enough to survive on their own, but they have maintained a close relationship with their mother so the companionship for all three of the birds will reduce the trauma somewhat.

Bombshell rests comfortably in Theresa's arms after the line was removed. Bombshell's two ducklings were captured so they could join their mother in the crate on their journey back to the Sanctuary

Little did the Hysen family know what their evening held in store for them. Jim had prior experience catching ducks when he was about the age of his sons and his skills rescued the duck. His two sons, Logan and Chase, held flashlights as we worked so they had an experience in wildlife stewardship they will never forget. Their mother, Kellie, documented the encounter with her camera so they boys will have a full record of their involvement.

This rescue could have had a happier outcome had acted sooner, but at least this hen will survive. The care she will receive for the rest of her life will be exemplary at the Sanctuary. Her ducklings will stay with their mom until they can fly in another couple of months. Maybe they will find their way back to the millpond at some future date.

If you go fishing, please be sure to discard fishing lines and hooks properly so waterfowl won’t encounter them as Bombshell has done.

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§ 8 Responses to "Tragedy for Blonde Bombshell #2"

  • Melissa says:

    I love your posts! I kept ducks and chickens, too, for years. All while reading this I thought Bombshell had met with an untimely demise and I was sad, but the story had a much happier ending. I love to fish, too. Whenever I find fishing line I always try to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Bombshell is a beautiful duck! I had a rooster once that lost a good portion of his leg due to getting caught in some goat fencing. I found him on Christmas Eve hanging upside down, and figured he had just been trying to roost when he lost his balance (most likely) so had been hanging there for at least three hours. Anyway, after all was said and done, he lost his entire lower leg. And once healed, he went right back to being the master of the barn. It was all attitude with Big Red. He had mastered his role in life well. He lived to be a ripe old age I am happy to say. Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories! <3 !

  • Wanda Ryan says:

    Don’t feel badly, Doug. It certainly wasn’t for lack of attempting to help her. So grateful you were able to find help for her.

  • DougPete says:

    Melissa: Your rooster is a good illustration of how tenacious birds can be even when disabled. We’ve had several ducks and geese survive serious injuries at the pond so I’m always hopeful. Thank you for your generous compliments about the stories I tell. I sometimes wonder if I dwell on the difficulties wildlife have in their lives too much, but that’s the reality so I keep at it.

    Wanda: Thanks for cheering me up. You’re a good friend and I am glad you share my passion for the pond residents.

  • Judy says:

    My heart hurts with yours over the misfortunes of Bombshell #2. I’m sure God also hurts when He sees His creatures suffer. But He sees your tender heart for them and the sacrifices you make to advocate for them, which must please Him greatly! What would have happened to Miss Bombshell if you had not done what you COULD do and DID do?
    Before following your duck tales, I never gave a thought to all those creatures, as we walk our shepherd there often. But now, your lively and often humorous stories have brought wildlife at the mill pond to life! (who else would think to photograph an earwig, rather than squashing it?!!) I am now able to recognize that scamp Franny, neglecting her chicks and sporting with her suitors – what a stitch! Learning about the ways and sufferings of God’s creatures helps us to keep in perspective our own troubles. Keep up the good work! : )

  • DougPete says:

    Judy, you are most kind with your comments. Bombshell would have lost her foot even if I hadn’t intervened, but I still wish I had acted sooner and saved it.

    You saying my writing and photos has brought life to the creatures at the pond for you is EXACTLY why I write. I felt the same way before I started paying attention to the critters there. I didn’t realize ducks had families and buddies as well as territories. I never gave any thought to the tough lives they lead in an urban setting. I actually thought ducks just moved from pond to pond instead of establishing territories and returning to the same location year after year.

    My almost daily visits to the pond also forces me to get away from the computers and MOVE. I would be less healthy if didn’t do it and wish the winters weren’t as harsh so I could spend more time there during the cold months. We have an El Nino brewing in the Pacific Ocean right now so I’m hoping that brings us a warmer winter.

    Thanks for posting and I look forward to seeing you soon at the pond.

  • […] were removed from the Brighton millpond when the circulation to her right leg and foot was cut off due to her encounter with monofilament fishing line. She and her chicks are now at the Michigan Duck Rescue and Sanctuary in Salem Township. While she […]

  • […] Brighton millpond has only two blonde ducks on it since Blonde Bombshell #2 lost her leg after it was constricted by monofilament fishing line in July. She’s doing well in the care of Michigan Duck Rescue and […]

  • […] Bombshell #2 had a tragic accident in July, 2015. Her right leg became entangled with monofilament fishing line that cut off the circulation. By the […]

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