Sunday, September 02, 2007

Henry Update

Just drove down to the pond to check on Henry.

I had been putting it off all day, mostly because I expected to find him worse than yesterday and I wasn't sure what could be done. I spent some time online today trying to gather some information on common duck ailments (there are many, including an unfortunate condition known as bumblefoot--don't ask) and whether there is any nearby organization that aids sick waterfowl (none that I could find). In short, it wasn't looking hopeful.

Thankfully, I found Henry in good spirits. I watched him for a little while and he seemed ok. He was preening himself along with other ducks on the bank. He was a lot more energetic than yesterday, shaking his tail vigorously several times, stretching his legs, and preening under both wings. I'll try to go back tomorrow.

But in the course of reading today, I've learned that it is REALLY bad to feed ducks. I always thought it was ok as long as you fed them whole grain bread or things like barley and corn. While it's true that that's at least better than non-nutritious white bread, it's still not as good for them as what they'd eat in the wild. And feeding can lead to ducks being overly aggressive with one another, can delay or discourage migration, can lead to overpopulation, makes ducks lose their fear of people, and can rob young of the chance to learn to find food on their own.

I guess I sort of knew all of that. I am considering not feeding the local ducks anymore, but I wonder--aren't they so tame at this point that they need to be fed? And, it's a pretty large group of ducks, and the pond is on the town green, rather than in the woods which would give it a more robust ecosystem. I wonder if there's enough for them to survive on without handouts. I think this requires some more research. Any advice is welcome!

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