January 19, 2005

National Trust rescues rare bird

When National Trust Wildlife Rescue Volunteers, Mars Van Liefde and Lois Blumenthal were called to identify a duck brought to Island Veterinary Clinic, they knew that there were many species of birds that might be called a duck.

Still, they were surprised to find a Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) swimming in the stainless steel dog-bathing sink in the veterinary surgery.

‘I was very happy that Ms Van Liefde was available and able to identify the bird,’ said Ms Blumenthal, who manages the program for the Trust. ‘Males and females can look very different and this is complicated by the variant colouration and feathering of juveniles and by mating plumage. Furthermore, all water birds have different feeding and migration needs. They also use different habitats: for instance, some need fresh water and some live in salty or brackish water. Finally, from a rehabilitation standpoint, some can survive in captivity and some cannot.’

All this means that rescuing a bird can be very complex if it is to survive.

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