This male Ruddy Duck was rescued Jan. 6 with rubber bands cruelly attached between its head and beak, so tight that it wasn’t able to open its beak or eat.
If it hadn’t been so quickly rescued and brought to Princevalle Pet Hospital in Gilroy, it would have soon starved to death. In addition, there was a deep puncture wound on its chest, possibly having been shot by a bb gun.
After the veterinarian treated the wounds, the duck was transferred to the Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center and placed in intensive care where it could be closely monitored and so that the duck could be tube-fed a vitamin-fortified formula 3 times a day to build up its strength. The duck’s condition improved daily and it gained 35% of its weight on an additional diet of nutritious mealworms and other natural foods. Within the week, the plump little duck was moved to an outdoor enclosure with a small pool and underwent the process of waterproofing, which ensures the ability of the bird’s feathers to shed water.
After one week, W.E.R.C. was ready to release the bird back to the area it was found. However, the rescuer had left the veterinary office without information on the location of the rescue. Notices were published in the local newspapers in an effort to find the Good Samaritan, but to no avail. So, on Jan. 14-a clear and pleasantly warm day-the duck was taken to a refuge in northern Morgan Hill and released at a large pond. The duck waddled across the muddy shore, paddled out a bit, then dove under the water, disappearing for a minute or so before bobbing up again yards away and swimming off to join the crowd of Ruddy Ducks at the other end of the pond.