27 September 2006

Good deeds

Today I helped rescue a Green-winged Teal.

When I was taking out the garbage, this being garbage day, I noticed Ochosi, Sam, and Jules strategically surrounding something out by the garden. What could my pride of pussies be stalking? I walked out toward them, realized it was a duck, and quickly scattered the cats away. (I confess, if it were a gopher, I would have applauded their hunting skills. Selective slaughter…)

My tenant/neighbor kept the cats back while I retrieved a cat carrier in which to carry the duck to safety. The bird had limited mobility (I saw an open wound beneath one wing, and it was scuttling with difficulty), and so wasn’t hard to catch. I maneuvered it into the carrier, then put it on a deep pull-out shelf in my bathroom, where I could close the door on it and keep it safe. Then I called Humboldt Wildlife Care Center.

HWCC is great; I wish every community had an organization like this! They are a group of volunteers who are trained to care for injured wildlife. Any time I find an injured animal, I call them and a volunteer comes out to get the critter, take it home, and nurse it back to health (if possible).

To the best of my knowledge, HWCC is funded by grants and donations. When I die, the proceeds from my estate will go into a fund at Humboldt Area Foundation with the instruction to distribute it to three different causes: the preservation and restoration of rivers and creeks; animal shelters and rescue organizations that do not euthanize; and the county library. However, god willing, it’ll be many years before my estate is ready to issue proceeds, so I make it a policy to give a donation to HWCC every time they come fetch another animal from me.

Cindy at HWCC said that today’s been a rough day for wildlife; they already had 11 calls this morning. She also told me it’s rare for a cat to catch a wild duck, so I feel somewhat relieved. I think that, in the case of this Green-winged Teal, my cats saw a (literally) lame duck and prepared to pounce; I stopped them before they made their move.

Pray that the little guy makes it!

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