On Thursday, I was presented with a surprise – and an education. I was on call for wildlife emergency transports. Just when I thought I’d have lunch, I got a call to bring a waterfowl bird located near a Leduc residence (about an hour’s drive from my home) to the WildNorth hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. The person who called WildNorth gave the impression that a waterfowl bird was in trouble. The worried resident was unable to identify the exact species, so I decided to be prepared for anything, like a large Canada Goose. I figured it would fit in Sammy’s dog crate easily enough.
When I pulled up to the lady’s home, she met me with a very small crate in hand. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘maybe it’s a small duck or gosling.’ A bit early for babies, but …..
When I looked inside the crate, a red breasted Robin was staring back at me with those big dark eyes. The bird seemed in no distress but the hospital wanted to give him a thorough check up since the bird seemed unable to fly. Back to Edmonton with one confused Robin.
Now, I don’t know the name of every species in my province. I know most of them, except for a few of the more shy birds, snakes, or rodents. The mammals are easier to know. You better, because those are the ones that will kill you. Grizzlies are so ill tempered. I do know the difference from a waterfowl bird and the cheery calls of a robin with its bright red breast. There’s one who has taken to singing near my bedroom window at 4 in the morning.
This pickup has been a lesson. The callers may be so overwrought seeing an animal/bird in distress that their usual common sense escapes.
When responding to wildlife emergency calls, I better be prepared for anything – from a sick muskrat, to a red tail hawk with a broken wing, to a ticked off bobcat with a sore paw. My first aid kit will expand as will the variety of boxes/crates in the back of my SUV to contain any possible creature. And safety equipment for my hands and eyes. Any guesses who/what will be my next patient?
Goes to show you can never assume your day will unfold as planned. There are surprises, plenty of surprises.