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A Second Chance

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Last night, my wife and I decided to take a boat ride.  We weren’t going to fish, no minnows.  The fishing up here this time of year becomes a lot more challenging as the water warms. Time for crankbaits and trolling.

We recently bought a pontoon that is being delivered soon and wanted to see how other cabins on our lake structured their pull-ups onshore.  We are going to have to build one for ours.  No sooner did we get the boat out of the bay, I saw something struggling in the water.  From a distance, it looked like a wounded duckling.

Mergansers and Golden Eye ducklings have pretty distinctive markings on their backs.

As we got closer, I motored slowly on by and the bird tried to swim to our boat.  I stopped, backed up the boat and the bird looked like it made eye contact with me and struggled to get closer to the boat.  I dipped my cupped hands in the water and the bird jumped into them and I retrieved it into the boat.  The bird was engaged in a fight for its life and the water was winning.

It certainly wasn’t a duck.  No webbed feet and a sharp-pointed bill.  The claws on its feet were pointed with the ends feeling like small needles.  The amazing thing to me when I handle live birds is how light they are.

We turned around and headed for home. We found a box and some cedar shavings to put it in.  My wife searched the internet for what it might be.  I posted this picture to a couple of groups.  This is sometimes the “nature” drama that takes place every day around here.  Of course, to the animals, it’s just life.

It turns out, it is a female downy woodpecker.  I have no idea how it got to the middle of the lake.  Maybe it was avoiding an owl, hawk, eagle, or osprey.  We kept it warm overnight, and early this morning my wife took it outside.  It sat in the box for a bit, then flew up into the trees.  She said it flew awkwardly so we suspect it is injured in some way.

It certainly would have died had we not rescued it from the water.

The post A Second Chance first appeared on Points and Figures.


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