Hilden man rescues duck from Willow Street

Raissa Tetanish
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‘It wasn’t happy. It got a hold of my glove and wouldn’t let go’

TRURO – Ivan Stewart didn’t know what he was seeing in the middle of Willow Street on Sunday.

When he came closer, he realized it was a duck.

“It was in the middle of the road with its wings stretched out to the sides,” Stewart said of the red-breasted merganser he found around 6:30 a.m. “I didn’t know what it was and when I got closer I saw that it was moving.”

Stewart, who delivers products with Scotsburn Dairy, pulled his vehicle off to the side of the road and when oncoming vehicles slowed down for him, he was able to chase the bird to the lawn of the day care across from Sam’s Pizza.

“I could hear the crows and I wanted to get it under the step,” he said. “It didn’t like me when it was under the step.”

Having just left Tim Hortons on Willow Street, Stewart returned and asked for a box. There, he ran into a friend of his – Tim Bowers – who followed Stewart back to the day care.

“I’ve never seen one of these in my life,” he said, adding the duck’s bill was around 10 inches in length. “It looked like it couldn’t fly, and come to find out, it can’t take off without being in water.”

Bowers and Stewart were able to capture the duck and enclose it in a box, much to the duck’s dismay.

“It wasn’t happy. It got a hold of my glove and wouldn’t let go.”

The former hunter admits he’s an animal lover, having rescued a dog that was close to being euthanized five years ago.

“She was badly beaten,” he said of his dog, Zoey, adding she’s a “sook.”

Because of his love of animals, Stewart knew he had to rescue the merganser.

“In my mind, I wanted to save it,” he said. “I heard the crows and thought, ‘I can’t (leave it there).”

When he captured the duck, Stewart then contacted the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on the Irwin Lake Road in Hilden.

“I thought at the time that it had a broken wing, but they said it can’t take off without any water,” he said.

Helene Van Doninck, the secretary-treasurer of the centre, said the duck, which is female, was in good condition when Stewart delivered it Sunday.

“It was disoriented because of the weather,” she said Monday morning. “With this particular duck’s anatomy, they don’t walk very well on land.”

Although many people may not be familiar with the merganser duck, Van Doninck said it isn’t rare to the area.

“Sometimes people will see them around the Kiwanis pond, but I wouldn’t call her rare.”

While the duck is in good condition, the centre will keep her for a few days before releasing her.

“We don’t know how long she was out in the open, so we want to keep her for a couple of days to feed her,” she said, adding releasing ducks this time of year could be difficult because of the weather and even ice conditions.

Wherever she’s released, Stewart made a monetary donation to the centre to help with the costs associated with the care and release.

As for the merganser arriving at the centre, Van Doninck said it was one of three ducks the facility received within a 24-hour period.

“Our first one for the new year was a mallard that was hit by a vehicle, and someone drove over a red-tail hawk that had hit a window,” she said. “It’s been a busy start to the year. We always wonder what will be our first arrival.”

She said what Stewart did isn’t always something that is seen when it comes to animals.

“He really went above the call of duty because mergansers do bite,” she noted. “It was nice that he stopped and took the time to capture it.”

 

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Organizations: Tim Hortons, Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Geographic location: Hilden, Willow Street, Irwin Lake Road Kiwanis

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  • libbybit
    April 26, 2014 - 15:12

    Great job!! Wish there were more people like you!!!!!