Duck Rescue Via Jet Plane

Never a dull moment at WildNorth (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation for Northern Alberta, Canada). Today was suppose to be a routine, data entry day in the office at WildNorth. I’m beginning to clue in. There’s no such thing as ‘routine’ at WildNorth. Just as I was ending my 3 hour shift, the dispatcher notified me that a lady in Leduc has two baby hares (for the general public, translate hares to rabbits).

Know that our dispatchers are professional and screen the calls to ensure the animal requires transport. WildNorth gets dozen of phone calls daily about baby hares that the public believe needs rescue. If the wee thing is not injured or sickly, the dispatcher instructs the good Samaritan to put the baby back where it was found. Momma will check on the baby twice daily and leave it/them alone the rest of the time. However, today the baby indeed needed rescue – two baby hares, in fact. Momma had been killed.

I agreed to take the ‘mission’ and hunted in my purse for my GPS. Gone! Well, no need for panic. I mean, really, what did we do before all these gadgets? Maps. The directions to the residence via google maps were simple. If I had been faster out of WildNorth’s doors I might have escaped the next call.

The dispatcher quickly blocked my path. A plane was arriving at the EIA (Edmonton International Airport) with a duckling.And since I was going to be in the area …….

Hell will freeze over before I so ‘no’ to anyone at WildNorth and refuse to come to the aid of wildlife of any form or size..I have to admit I was a bit hesitant. The EIA is a bit intimidating since all the expansions and new buildings. And the dispatcher was having difficulty in getting detailed information from the caller about where the plane would be landing.

All we knew was that it was coming from Ft. McMurray, Northern Air, perhaps. Refusing to appear incompetent, I told our dispatcher, “Don’t worry, I’ll figure it out when I get there.” Atta girl, I thought, you’re going to get yourself arrested for suspicious behavior before the day is over.

Airport security have no sense of humor. If one of those mean looking boys in flak jackets asks me what I’m doing at the airport and I tell them I’m there to pick up a duck ….. well, I can see how that could go south really fast.

By the time I had picked up the two little hares and arrived at the airport, WildNorth’s dispatcher confirmed that the plane would be arriving at the Executive Airport, several blocks away from the main terminal, and that the plane was owned by Syncrude. Sure enough. Within five minutes a fancy small jet did a 180 in front of the doors. I caught the eye of a lady carrying a small dog crate and introduced myself.

With hardly a smile or hello, she handed the crate to me. Inside was a pair of beady eyes staring back at me. I wanted a bit of history, what is the condition of the bird, what has it’s behavior been while it was on the plane, etc. “Oh,” she said pushing through the exit doors. “It wants out.” And she was gone.

As I drove back to Edmonton with my two little hares and one duckling, I had a feeling of a job well done. I smiled. My big old Trail Blazer had the most precious and fragile cargo. They will get to the loving hands of WildNorth professional staff because I’m a WildNorth transport volunteer.

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