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An Anatidae Odyssey

During the pandemic I've been spending my time in a somewhat rural area. There's a lake. There's bugs.  There's lots of flora and fauna of all shapes and sizes. Every once in a while I spot something incredible. About a year ago I was enjoying my morning coffee when I happened upon this in my backyard:

That's an alligator in my backyard, y'all

Honey gator don't care

Just FYI - I'm not using some giant telephoto lens and zooming in from a mile away in those photos. This gator was very close to my house and very comfortable there. Clearly, he lacks respect for private property.

I'm pretty confident that despite an APB from Fish & Wildlife, this gator is still at large. So when a poor duck hobbled into my backyard with a horrific mangled leg last week, the gator was my main suspect.

Please, sir, quack?

The injury was shocking to look at & made it very difficult for the duck to move around. Making matters even worse for my feathered friend, the injured duck is considered invasive to my area. The excellent staff at the wildlife rescue operations near me would be legally mandated to euthanize the duck if I brought it to them. 

I'll spare you a debate about the rightness or wrongness of euthanizing invasive species - its a complex issue on which reasonable people can disagree. But in this case I wanted to make sure euthanasia was necessary. 

So, after a long chat with a vet friend of mine and the aforementioned wildlife rescue folks, I've been taking some measures to help the duck. I've been feeding him a mix of poultry crumbles with shredded lettuce, giving him lots of fresh water, and keeping the part of my yard where he has set up his HQ clear of twigs and debris. At feeding times, I check the leg for signs of infection, make sure he's eating and drinking, etc.

Duck delights in delectable dinner

So far, so good. Not only has the little dude started putting some weight back on, he is learning to walk again with just the one leg. He can fly & swim again, too. Not out of the woods yet, of course, but for just going through a duck version of the plot from 127 Hours he is doing pretty good.

Speaking of movies, I'm convinced there is a Pixar script in this story somewhere.