Most of the time, Creature Control technicians spend their time trapping and removing unwanted wildlife from people’s property. Every now and then we also get a chance to rescue threatened wildlife, like this story last year about a technician who saved twenty baby snapping turtles. This time, is was an injured duck that was in need of rescuing.
Creature Control technician John was working on a muskrat inspection in Grandville in west Michigan when he noticed a male Bufflehead duck sitting in a parking lot. Ducks are of course migratory, and Buffleheads will winter over in the Great Lakes area. At first John didn’t think much of it, but the duck was strangely calm and seemed immobilized. Upon closer inspection, it was clear the Bufflehead was wounded.
John took the Bufflehead and tried to find a rehabilitation center to accept the duck; Creature Control is not licensed to do any animal rehabilitation, so the most we can do in such circumstances is find a shelter to donate the wounded animal to. John didn’t have an easy time; ducks are migratory birds, and all migratory birds are federally protected. Not every shelter is licensed to rehabilitate federally protected birds.
Eventually John took the duck to the Wildlife Rehab Center in Grand Rapids, which was able to accommodate the duck. The shelter told John that it was suffering from a neck and back injury and was severely malnourished due to its inability to walk or find food. Thankfully, because John was able to get the duck the care it needed, the little guy is well on his way to recovery.
Like I said, Creature Control technicians are wildlife removal specialists, not animal rehabilitation workers. We often get calls from concerned people who encounter wounded animals, and unfortunately we are not licensed to rehabilitate hurt animals. But this story about the Bufflehead shows how people engaged at different levels of wildlife can collaborate.