What I definitely did NOT do, was attempt to touch the duckling. We are compelled to “save” whatever it is. Another vast assumption I will make is that I’m sure all people who touch young wildlife, usually have the best of intentions for them. We just want to help and for it to not be hungry, cold, lonely, or sad. Likely, it’s ready to be out in the open, if it is being viewed be you. Of course there are the birds that fall from the nest too soon, or a squirrel nest that was disturbed in an attic that would leave a young one out in the open before it was time. But please, “If you care…leave it there”. This is a mantra that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is famous for using.
Often our well-meant acts have an adverse affect on whatever was being “saved”. Learning to care for wildlife and rehabilitating it takes special licensing and facilities, which most of us do not possess. How many times have you heard of feeding a baby bird wet cat food or offering a milk or formula to young mammals? Surprisingly, Mother Birds do not hit up our favorite pet supply store for Fancy Feast. And humans are the only species to knowingly and actively drink milk from a different species. Weird to think about, right?
There is a list of qualified wildlife rehabilitators which can be accessed at this website: List of Licensed NYS Wildilfe Rehabiltitators. If you contact the most local rehabilitator to you, or your regional wildlife DEC staff, they may be able to give you advice or assistance on handling the animal if there’s a more serious issue.
And many thanks to the many that submitted photos for this entry! I like the variety of species and locations I am able to share, and perhaps I’ll call for photos again sometime in the future.