We receive many calls at this time of year about ducks and other water birds who have been left behind when the others on the lake leave.
There may be several reasons for this, some of which we can help, some of which you can help reduce in the future.
Injuries. This is the time many people realize that a waterfowl species has a fractured wing. Sometimes we can fix this, it all depends on how old the injury is and where it is located. For us to determine this, the bird does need to be captured and brought to us (which we realize is difficult if it stays in open water). A limping duck/water bird should still be able to fly, but if it continues to go downhill, becomes weaker, you should bring it to us.
Angelwing, which results in malformed bones if left untreated, can also prevent a duck from flying. This is usually caused by malnutrition. You can help solve this problem in the wild by educating friends and family that feeding bread to ducks is a bad idea. Leave them to forage on their own, it's an important life stage.
No injuries, friendly, doesn't fly away. These ducks were most likely raised by humans. They could be wild ducks mistakenly "helped" when they were little, resulting in bonding with humans or they're "mallards" purchased from a feed store, raised and released. We receive many calls from people asking if ducks they've raised can be "wilded" up. The answer at this time of year, when so much time has passed, is no. Store-bought mallards generally do not survive their first winter and feed stores do a poor job informing people of not only this sad fact, but also the many regulations involving their care, release and legal transfer. We cannot help store-bought mallards. They should be placed with a good hobby farm or nature center. You can help end this cycle of store-bought mallards by spreading the word to family and friends, who in turn will tell others.
Following up on an animal you brought to us? Drop us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the person's name who admitted it, the approximate date and the species. We'll get back to you within a few days!
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The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC) in Roseville, Minn., is a nonprofit, donor-supported organization. The WRC was established in response to the increased need for medical care of injured, ill and orphaned wildlife. With a medical staff of 8, the Center is one of the largest and busiest wildlife medical centers in the nation. More than 600 volunteers care for, rehabilitate and release the wildlife that they've worked with. The WRC treats more than 12,000 wild animals every year, representing more than 185 different species.
We cannot give tours since we do not keep any animals for educational use. We do have an open house every winter, usually in February. Watch our Facebook page or register for our emails to keep up to date with WRC.