Last week I stopped at a local park to do some birding. When I arrived, I spotted a fellow birder and went to talk to him. We were interrupted by a small feathered visitor that walked up to us in the parking lot. It was a Mallard duckling quacking a few feet away from us. This was quite a surprise for both of us. I knew there were no recent babies at this location, so I wondered where this duckling came from.
I decided to try and catch the Mallard and attempt to find its parents, thinking that perhaps the pair of Mallards that I had seen recently in the park did have babies and that somehow I just missed them. I brought the duckling over to the area where the pair of Mallards was hanging out and put the duckling down. Neither the duckling nor the pair of Mallards seem interested in each other.
Two large lawn mowers moved up the path and I struggled to keep the duckling out of harms way. Then a man walking two dogs was nearby. At this point, I managed to recapture the duckling. I brought the duckling back to where I found it and let it down on the ground. It seemed really hungry, as it was pecking at little bits of rock trying to find something edible.
I decided to call Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, for I did not think the duckling was safe at the park. They agreed that I should bring the duckling in. So I got a container out of my trunk and put the duckling in and started to exit the parking lot for the journey to the wildlife rescue location. I did not get far when the duckling managed to hop out. Luckily I had a beach towel that I used to put over the top of the container.
When we got to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, I took the towel off the container and let the duckling sit on top of the towel. Jennifer Burghoffer, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Associate Manager, completed intake forms for the duckling and brought food and water out for the hungry little one.
While discussing the circumstances in which I found the duckling they determined that if was probably an Easter gift that was dumped by someone at the park. They said that this happens at Easter. We all agreed that the duckling would not have survived on its own. I am thankful the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center was able to help this duckling.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization established to provide assistance to Virginia’s native and orphaned wildlife and educate the public in northern Virginia, the Shenandoah region and more. The center presents environmental education programs including a nature discovery camp for children. The center operates a wildlife hotline: 540-837-9000.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center is dependent on donations. There is no state or federal funding for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. Please consider supporting them with a monetary donation or donating necessary items.
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center has some upcoming events (Please check their Facebook page and website for additional details for events):
On April 22, 2016, at 4:30 pm, The Land Trust of Virginia, in conjunction with the Goose Creek Association and Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, will host a free screening of Project Wild Thing at the Hill School for Performing Arts Center, Middleburg, VA. This is a documentary about one man’s personal quest to wean his children away from the couch and get them to experience the great outdoors.
June 12 from 12 to 3 pm: Spring is peak season for the rescue of young wildlife at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. For this reason, a Baby Shower, will be held to collect items needed to rehabilitate these young ones. This event is open to the public and will take place at Long Branch Plantation in Boyce, VA. Visit this historic property and meet some of the wildlife center’s animal ambassadors. There will be a silent auction and raffle prizes. This is a fun event for people of all ages. I attended it a few years ago. It was held outdoors under a large canopy. There were birds of prey, mammals, turtles and more to see. Please check their website for items to donate and directions.