Stray duck finally released into wild

Raissa Tetanish
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‘It was funny to hear feet running around in the room’

HILDEN – A merganser found in Truro early in the year has finally been released into the wild.

Helene Van Doninck, veterinarian and secretary-treasurer with the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, said the merganser was set free on Saturday.

“We had hoped to release her a few days after receiving her, but these birds are water birds and we liked to make sure she had good feather condition and weight on her before releasing her,” said Doninck about the red-breasted duck that Ivan Stewart found wandering on Willow Street in the early morning hours of Jan. 5.

Stewart was able to capture the merganser with the help of a friend, and transport her to the rehabilitation centre.

“When a merganser is found in this state – in the middle of the road and a little thin – it’s not a good thing to do to release them right away. We started to put some weight on her, but then the weather got bad and we made the decision to keep her here until the weather had calmed down,” Doninck said.

The merganser was originally kept indoors inside a soft-sided playpen with an area of water.

“She was quite entertaining,” said the veterinarian. “She hissed and was cranky with us every time we went near her, and she escaped from her enclosure a few times. It was funny to hear feet running around in the room.

“We liked her, but we were excited to let her go.”

And the merganser’s excitement showed when released in a pond near the Leo Blair Memorial Ballfield in North River. (To watch a video of the release, click here.)

“She was outtta there,” said Doninck with a laugh. “She went right out and within 30 seconds of being in the water, she dunked her head underneath looking for food. We watched her for a little while and she peddled out of sight, then came back checking out her surroundings.”

Doninck said she and her husband, Murdo Messer, had been looking for other mergansers and saw some in New Glasgow.

“But we still decided to release her locally, because she was found locally,” said Doninck.

With baby season arriving, Doninck said the centre will undoubtedly get busier and hopes many people will support the centre with an upcoming fundraiser.

The centre’s sixth annual silent auction and benefit concert begins at 7 p.m. on May 10 at The Pond in Bible Hill.

Tim Bowers, who coincidentally was the friend to help Stewart rescue the merganser, Ben Edwards, Cod Liver Oil, and Irish Mythen are set to perform, and there will be a 50/50 draw and egg raffle blitz.

Admission is $10 and tickets are available at The Pond, Scotiabank on Inglis Place, MacQuarries Pharmasave on the Esplanade, the Central Nova Animal Hospital or by calling 893-0253.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Organizations: Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, The Pond, Scotiabank Central Nova Animal Hospital

Geographic location: Willow Street, North River, New Glasgow Bible Hill Inglis Place

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