We wait six months for spring evenings like several we’ve had this past week. Except for one hot and muggy one, they all have a slight chill that demands a jacket after dark. That’s fine with most people because it also means it’s too brisk for mosquitoes.
Razzle (right) and his three amigos are enjoying the weather but have been slightly confused this week. Their favorite female cannot be found. The four drakes have been at the sides of two hens throughout winter and spring. Both have vanished. Zoot might be nesting but I fear Franny has died since she’s been absent for two months now.
Zoot may be in the clutches of a duck rustler. I met a woman who was obviously self-medicated who told me she was a licensed wildlife rehabber. She was attempting to catch ducks who had limps so she could take them to Howell Nature Center. She said one in her possession was having surgery the next day for a broken leg.
I checked with Howell Nature Center. They are the only wildlife rehabilitation facility in Livingston County and have the only licensed wildlife rehabber on their staff. The woman I met at the millpond was lying to me about her license and no ducks from the millpond have arrived at HNC this spring.
This isn’t unusual. Each year, someone takes it upon themselves to “rescue” waterfowl that don’t need rescuing. I explained to the imposter the ducks she was worried about were being monitored. Michigan Duck Rescue is generous with their knowledge and NONE of these birds required medical intervention.
Ducks are resilient. Leg injuries usually heal with time or are permanent conditions that cannot be medically helped. Capturing migrating waterfowl like Mallards or even Canada geese is rarely recommended. It is unlawful for individuals to take it upon themselves to care for them. They have 48 hours to get them to a licensed wildlife rehabber or risk sizable fines for harboring wild animals. Most veterinarians are not licensed to provide medical services to wildlife. So please leave the millpond wildlife alone unless they have life-threatening injuries caused by predators or vehicles. If you have further questions, you may find answers at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website.