What happens in the first month of being an official waterfowl rescue? In our case, three rescues!
First our dear friends Mary and Dave found this little black duckling via their daughter and her friend. They’d been in Temecula and discovered two little day old ducklings left in a box outside a store. They took one to the humane society and tried to keep the other overnight. After realizing how difficult it is to care for a duckling, they had Mary and Dave contact us. And that’s how we did our very first rescue of Lucky!
Two weeks later and we officially started the rescue. We quickly created some marketing materials and set out to spread the word about our new organization. We thought we’d send out emails, digital brochures, etc to local humane societies and other groups in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we really weren’t even fully setup for the rescue efforts to begin. Cart was put before the horse in this case. I guess we thought it would take a while for rescues to actually happen. Boy were we wrong!
Through the marketing process we connected with the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach. They were extremely supportive and helpful, sharing resources and information with us about wildlife rescue, ducks and geese in the wild, and just being generally supportive and encouraging.
Fast forward and all three of our recent rescues have come from folks the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center has referred to us. It seems that dumping ducks at local parks and ponds is pretty common currently in Orange County. Sadly we have learned that people are quite quick to abandon a grown duck that they have hand-raised.
We may be only one month old now, but we have sure made serious progress and met some wonderful people along the way.
The second rescue, at UC Irvine, allowed us to meet an amazing couple named Don and Gerry who saved the little Welsh Harlequin ducklings we subsequently named after them, Dawn and Gerry (because we think they are two females). This kind couple discovered the ducklings while on a walk at the nearby marshlands. They recognized the babies wouldn’t be able to survive and saw that they were friendly; they even had a photo of the ducklings sitting at another person’s feet. Don and Gerry surely saved these little ones that day.
Then this past weekend we met Bridget and her two friends who aided the three white Pekins: Jimmy, Walker, and Teeter after they’d been dumped at a nearby park. This animal-loving group of good samaritans saw that Teeter had been injured and chose to help remove her and her two drake buddies to safety. When we met them to pick up the three ducks we learned this thoughtful group of people not only regularly patrols that park to check on the waterfowl there, but they also bring duck food to feed the birds there every day.
We also connected with Metzer Farms. All of our personal ducks and geese have come from this family hatchery in Northern California. They have been extremely supportive of us, offering advice along the way. When we posted on Instagram that we were wondering what breed Dawn and Gerry were, they quickly messaged us. They even highlighted our rescue the following week on all their social media accounts.
Yes, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. More than we could ever have imagined or expected. We weren’t fully prepared to be taking on rescues this quickly and all at once. But we made it work! And we couldn’t have done it without the support and kindness of all these people who started out as strangers, but we now consider comrades in arms. Meeting these fellow animal lovers has been such a wonderful experience for us. It has really renewed our faith in our fellow humans who love, respect, and care for animals. Their willingness to jump in and save the ducks they discovered has fueled our fire to continue our efforts.
Don, Gerry, Bridget, and their friends did the hard work on these rescues. Then they passed the proverbial torch onto us. Now we will make sure that the ducks they saved will have loving forever homes.
If this is the first month, we need to buckle up! It’s going to be a crazy ride. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.