We receive so many injured wild animals here at the PAWS Wildlife Center, it sometimes seems like they must be falling out of the sky. And sometimes, as demonstrated by a recent patient, that is exactly what is happening.
On March 23, a Common Goldeneye was found sitting in a stairwell at the Holy Names Academy in Seattle. Unlike Mallards and a few other duck species, goldeneyes aren't prone to wandering around on land far from water. A stairwell is certainly not a place a goldeneye would ever choose to be, but this bird had not arrived there by choice. The bird had been attacked by a predaor. His neck was badly lacerated, the tip of his bill was cracked, and he had lost a significant amount of blood. Judging from the nature of the wounds and the fact that the bird ended up in the stairwell, the most likely course of events is that the goldeneye had slipped from the grasp of a passing eagle that had intended to make a meal of him. Too injured to fly, the duck fell to the ground and came to rest in the stairwell. His bill tip was fractured on impact.
At PAWS the bird was stabilized and then anesthetized so the veterinary staff could assess and treat his wounds. Drs. Huckabee and Johnson cleaned the neck wound before inserting a wicking drain and suturing the wound closed. As of this writing, the goldeneye’s wounds are healing well, and he is slowly regaining his strength.
I photographed the goldeneye prior to the repair of his neck injury. He was anesthetized at the time and the veterinary staff was preparing to suture his wounds. The photo is graphic, so I wanted to give you the option to not view it if you don't wish to do so. If you do choose to view it though, it will give you a much clearer picture of how far the duck has come since his admission. Click the link if you wish to View this photo.
The photo below was taken just five days after the goldeneye was admitted. As you can see, he's come a long way.