Driver Survives Trip to Wild Care
Driver Survives trip to Wild Care
by Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator
A person called us from Truro the other day reporting a seabird looking distressed on a road. After listening to his description it sounded like it was a loon – gray on top, white beneath, feet sticking out behind it, and a pointed beak.
I asked if it was possible for him to bring it in. I have to admit, I was picturing the very sick loons we had recently received at Wild Care. What was I thinking?
The man was eager to help and said he could get the bird into his car. I pictured his back seat. I said, “Great, be careful- and WAIT! Something you should know is that loons can have explosive feces. Do you still want to do this?”
He paused for a second and told me he would figure it out.
I saw the car pull up and the man was leaning in an odd manner. When he got out he was holding a box with the Loon, and I see the Loon’s very point beak quite close the man’s face. Yikes! I grabbed my goggles and met him at the door. He handed me the box and laughingly said something about the pain in his back and how the bird seemed to perk up a bit from the heat in the car. It rode in the front passenger seat next to him while he held back the bird’s long neck so it could not bite him the entire ride from Truro. I told him he was lucky to have both of his eyes, and he said his car was fine- the explosion happened before he put the bird in. I took the bird into the clinic for examination:
BAR – (Bright Alert and Responsive) – Aggressive – Weight WNL (Within Normal Limits) – Body Condition = Great.
Everything checked out WNL except for a minor abrasion on his foot from the pavement, and some dehydration from being away from water. This was a classic case of an aquatic bird landing on a paved road thinking it is a waterway. It was what we refer to as “grounded”. Loons are unable to walk upright and need to run along the water to get lift for flight. The rescuer had a great sense of humor and was lucky not to have gotten hurt. I once again learned to never assume anything.
We kept this Red-throated Loon overnight, gave him fluids, swam him in our seabird pool, confirmed he was waterproof, watched him dive and eat fish, and released him the very next day.
Watch the video of this very ready-to-be-released (and aggressive) loon!
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!