While it’s not unusual to see birds roaming the streets of the city, this time, one Good Samaritan realized something was wrong when he saw a tiny ball with wings in Hewlett Harbor, New York.
This duck-like animal was struggling on the other side of the road and he just had to do something about it. Fortunately, at that moment, a security officer was passing by, and the good-hearted human immediately called for help.
Although it was strange to the officer as to why the animal was not moving, he also thought it was a duckling. Just in case, he covered it with a cardboard box and called a local wildlife rescuer.
Both the Good Samaritan and the officer were up for a surprise.
It Wasn’t A Duckling…
When Karenlynn Stracher, a well-known local wildlife rehabilitator and rescuer in New York, came to that place, she was already very confused by what she heard from the officer.
“When the officer first found me, he told me that he had found an injured duckling,” Stracher told The Dodo. “I told him that it would be very unusual to have a duckling this time of year.”
Nevertheless, she didn’t want to prejudge anything until she really saw what it was all about. So, when she came to that place, she carefully lifted the box and finally saw the little animal.
Indeed, Karenlynn was right. It wasn’t a duckling, but a pied-billed grebe. Karenlynn said that it was unusual to see grebe in this part of the country.
“They’re not common in this area. They’re much more common on the West Coast,” Stracher told the officer in a video taken at the scene. “But they do end up here. You see them on occasion.”
No matter what, Karenlynn placed her in the carrier and this little bird was finally in a safe place.
@wildliferehab_kl #wildlife #wildliferehab #wildliferescue #everylifematters #piedbilledgrebe #grebe #strandedgrebe #groundedgrebe #greberescue #birdrescue ♬ original sound – KL the Wildlife Rehabilitator
The Poor Thing Had A Specific Problem
Although Karenlynn knew these birds could be found in this area sometimes, she still didn’t understand why this one wasn’t in the water.
Sluggish rivers, freshwater marshes, lakes, and estuaries are their natural habitats, yet this pied-billed grebe was found on the surface.
That’s why Starcher brought the bird home to examine her. She was pleased to find that the bird didn’t have any obvious signs of injury. Besides that, although she was in an unknown surrounding, she was pretty calm.
“It was clear she was nervous, but she was not panicking or struggling at all,” Stracher said.
There was only one other potential problem that this little bird could suffer from. To test this, Karenlynn filled a tub with water and placed her in it.
It turned out to be exactly what Stracher feared, which she confirmed in the video on her TikTok profile, showing the test itself.
“It is clear here that her feathers are getting wet,” Stracher said in the video, adding. “Her waterproofing is not what it should be.”
Since pied-billed grebes spend most of their life in the water, waterproofing is essential for their survival. This one likely hadn’t waterproofed due to parasites, malnutrition, gland issues, stress, or another common cause.
An experienced wildlife rehabilitator, such as Karenlynn Stracher, knew very well what this situation could potentially lead to, and that’s why she immediately knew what to do.
Soon, She Will Be Where She Belongs
Unfortunately, this problem was beyond Stracher’s capabilities. But, she knew a lot of people in her work field, and that’s how she came to the experienced experts from Sweetbriar Nature Center.
She brought this tiny pied-billed grebe there, where experts would be working to determine the exact cause of her inability to waterproof. Once they do that and get her back to doing what she does best, she will be put back where she belongs.
“We expect she will be fully releasable come springtime,” Stracher said.
In the end, no matter that this little bird went through the hardships that separated her from her home, the right people were found in the right place, and this story, hopefully, will have its happy ending.