Diving ducks must paddle on water to fly and according to the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center can run into trouble during winter storms when there’s lots of precipitation.
Lead Wildlife Specialist Kyle Koprowski said the ducks, which include mergansers, long-tailed ducks, and lesser scaup, can confuse parking lots and other land surfaces with open water. He said that once on land, the animals are helpless.
“That’s considered landlocked, and then they won’t be able to move, and they’ll start walking on their wings,” Koprowski said in our original report Jan. 18.
At that time, the center showed News 5 a lesser scaup rescued from a local road. It was in rehabilitation and expected to recover and be released back into the wild.
On Jan. 29, the duck was taken to Bradstreet’s Landing Park in Rocky River to be released into Lake Erie.
“That release was simple. He didn’t waste any time,” said News 5 Anchor Damon Maloney.
“Nope, he wants to go back to where he belongs,” said Tim Jasinski, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist at Lake Erie Nature and Science Center.
“That’s a good sign that he’s swimming out that way,” Jasinski said. “That means he’s strong and he gained a lot of weight. He gained a couple hundred grams since we had him.”
Jasinski said the location for the release is a great area known for bird activity. He said it wouldn’t take long for the lesser scaup to meet up with other diving ducks.
“Thousands of thousands of thousands of water fowl come out from the north to stop over on Lake Erie,” Jasinski said.
The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center said it received one diving duck due to someone watching the original News 5 report. And they’ve taken in several others since.
“They’re a little bit worse than what this one was, but they look to be doing okay,” Koprowski said.
If you see a duck that’s struggling or seems out of place, call the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center at 440-871-2900 x 204. They’re open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Koprowski said a few signs to look for include squinted eyes, lethargy, ice buildup and puffiness.
He said individuals can take a towel or blanket, drape it over the duck and put it into a box. He said not to give the duck food or water.
Once in the hands of the team at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, Koprowski said the ducks have a pretty good shot at recovery.
Koprowski said seeing animals get well and back in their natural habitats is fulfilling. He’s hoping for more happy duck tales with the other rescued birds.
“Even though they come in injured , it’s still my favorite part to be able to release them… plus they’re beautiful,” Koprowski said.