There was a time when a Mallard duck could lay her eggs pretty much anywhere without concern that there might be impassable obstacles between her future hatchlings and the nearest body of water. But human changes to the landscape, including buildings, fences, roads and the draining of countless acres of wetlands, have put an end to those relatively carefree nesting days. Unfortunately, the ducks have yet to realize it.
As I write this I know that there are mallards all over the Greater Seattle Area that are sitting on eggs in planters, hedgerows and at the edges of lawns. Others are already marching newly hatched ducklings toward the nearest water source. I know this both from past experience, and from the fact that we have already received many young mallards this year that have gone astray during their first overland journey.
Continue reading "Mallard Families on the March" »
It’s never a good sign when a wild bird arrives at PAWS with fishing line hanging out of its mouth. The line itself is dangerous enough, causing injury through entanglement and laceration of skin, but the real danger lies at the far end of that line disappearing down the animal’s esophagus. You never know what might be down there, but you can be certain it's nothing good.
The most recent patient who presented us with the “what’s at the end of the line?” puzzle was a Common Loon. She was picked up by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officer in Shelton, WA after she became too entangled in fishing line to move. She was transported to West Sound Wildlife Center on Bainbridge Island who then transferred her to PAWS. Radiographs taken here at the wildlife center answered the question of the day.
Continue reading "What's at the End of the Line?" »