Saturday, December 10, 2011

All I could do was watch . . .

I have faced many emergency situations during my 40 years as a nurse - both at home and in the hospital but, never have I been faced with an emergency dealing with a duck - not until yesterday.
I felt helpless and didn't know what to do. What a terrible feeling to watch a helpless creature struggle to survive.

While strolling along the shore of Lake Ontario, I noticed a duck sitting very still on the ice covered water. At first, I thought it was sleeping but, that notion changed quickly when I saw him flutter his feathers and kick outward with his webbed foot. He appeared to be in distress. I stopped and watched. It became clear that he was stuck in the ice. I wondered how that could happen. He must have been sitting there for a long time to be frozen to the ice. The more he struggled, the more panicky I got. He was too far out for me to help plus, I would go through the thin ice if I tried. My only recourse was to call 'Animal Rescue.' I probably sounded like a maniac when I phoned but they reassured me that they would be there within the hour.

For what seemed a life time, I stayed by the shore and watched the poor duck try to free himself. Having never cared for a duck before, I didn't know how long it would take before he would succumb to hypothermia if at all. I internalized - if he collapses from exhaustion, I'll jump into the water and rescue him myself. Crazy I know - but, that was my frame of mind at the time. I paced a bit and mumbled to myself - then, 'it happened.'  He broke loose and waddled towards the open water. I felt so relieved. For approximately one hour, the duck worked to break loose and, voila - he was free.

I hope old man winter doesn't throw any more surprises my way.

What I learned from this experience:
  I wouldn't make a good duck nurse. Hey, I don't even know how to do CPR on a beaked animal. :))

I'm so happy everything turned out okay.
Yesterday's adventure had a happy ending and I found a few more white hairs.

I took a few photos and put together this wee video.

Have a fun-filled day, my friends!


  1. I am so happy this story had a happy ending. The poor duck really had to work hard to free himself. I would have been tempted to go in the water too but that would not have been a good idea.

    It is hard to imagine a duck sitting still so long that he got stuck but as you said that's probably what happened.

  2. I was holding my breath while reading - afraid to learn the duck's fate. I am glad to hear it turned out well. I would be faced with the same helpless concern if I were presented the same situation. Maybe it's because we are nurses - we feel the need to help out even if it's a duck.

  3. That would have been so hard to watch. So happy that it ended the way it did!

  4. I think it would have been the same for any of us who care about wildlife: we would want to help. I am SO GLAD he got free. That music had my heart pounding, even though I knew the outcome in advance!

    I am SURE I was following you sometime in the past, but it got lost. Glad to have found you again, Susan!

  5. These birds sometimes freeze in overnight. They are able to escape most of the time. I enjoyed your post.