On January 19, a woman in Everett spotted this young Common Goldeneye walking down the sidewalk in her neighborhood. The bird was clearly out of his element, and he was being pursued by a cat. She rescued the goldeneye and brought him to PAWS. During his intake examination, our wildlife rehabilitator on duty found that the duck had several lesions on his feet and lower legs.
Since there was no body of water near where the goldeneye was found, we suspect this bird was what we refer to as a “road-strike.” From the air, the surface of wet pavement looks very much like the surface of a body of water. Waterfowl are often fooled by this appearance and attempt to land.
They expect to hit the forgiving surface of water, so they come in fast and end up hitting the pavement hard. Their feet and legs suffer lacerations and abrasions, they are stunned and they occasionally suffer broken bones as well. In addition, if they are a species that can only take flight by first running on top of the water, they may not be able to get airborne from dry land.
Young, inexperienced birds are especially susceptible to becoming road-strike victims, and this goldeneye is a male that is less than a year old. So far he is alert and feisty, and doing well in PAWS’ care.