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DUCK RESCUE TEAM

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ANIMALS by KRISS on 13 december 2015

This afternoon we went to the beach simply to relax and I only packed the D4s with an 85mm f1.4 mounted to take a few portraits if anyone felt like it.
Little did I know that I would see a duck in a difficult position (second time this week), find strangers trying to rescue it, help them doing so and succeed ! So I’m going to tell you the whole story…

As we were walking along the beach I noticed an unusual bird standing on the shore.
A woman was right besides it and she wasn’t moving.
Suddenly I saw a guy rushing to catch it and fail.
We walked towards him and he explained in a strong Ukrainian accent I firstly confused with a good old Scott’s accent that the duck had a fishing hook down its throat.

By then the duck was already in the water and the man explained there was no use trying to rescue it now because we would never catch.
He walked away with his wife and I stared at the duck, puzzled.

This week I had already witnessed a duck hagard in the middle of the road and by the time I u-turned to rescue it, another car had hit it.
I was very upset and I wasn’t going to let another duck suffer or die on my watch !

I followed the duck from the beach and at some point, I saw a woman fishing trying to catch the duck.
I quickly understood she had noticed the hook in the bird’s beak and was trying to get her hands on it.
She succeeded once for a short time before it went underwater again.
I then decided I couldn’t help much staying on the shore and thought about going in the water.
Damn it might be the first day this week I am not wearing my amazing Seagale walking and bathing shorts and I quickly checked which underwear I had on.
Damn again, the only pair of boxers that are used to the cord and now semi transparent (they are so comfy though aha).
What the heck, I would quickly undress, everyone’s attention was on the duck anyways, and immerge myself in the water quickly so that nobody would see anything ! I had forgotten that you can walk a long distance here before water gets above your waist but I think everyone’s attention was on the duck (did I say that before) so I was OK I guess.

Once in the water, the duck kept trying to get the fish from the woman’s line but all our attempts at capturing it proved unsuccessful.
I looked at the woman and asked her if she had any fishnet.
By chance her husband happened to have one and after only two attempts we captured the duck and he pulled it out onto the shore.

By then, I had quickly forgotten about my boxers and rushed to grab the bird before it had time to hurt itself even more.
As you can see on the photos that Kate then took (yes Rose finally agreed to let go of the camera), there were a few people gathered around and Rose of course, assisting closely like an attending in Grey’s Anatomy (her hair is pretty much in the framing of all the photos for that matter !).
If you ever went fishing you know a hook is designed not to come out from the prey and if you have never been fishing and haven’t got a clue what a hook looks like, well google it ! Both husband and wife tried to remove the hook gently and their kids got worried the duck was going to die and I felt so sad for them.
But it didn’t work, it was stuck in a cartilage close to the bird’s eye and its beak and even with the help of a pair of pliers we never cut the hook.
The bird seemed rather calm, I could feel its body in my hands and wasn’t showing any sign of aggressiveness or pain.
We decided to pull the hook out the wrong way round, working the way through the flesh gently by working it at an angle and it finally worked ! There was one tiny patch of blood just where the hook had been but the scar was superficial and I really think and hope the bird didn’t feel much (apparently passerby told us it had been seen with the hook for two days).

We then precautiously removed the fishing net from around the animal and while I still had my hand on it, as soon as it was free it gave a good pinch at its benefactor (Kate got that as you can see).
The guy did get his own superficial scar with his tiny patch of blood too !

I let go of the duck before it had any more thought about me and we watched it stay around in the water, minding its own duck business, catching fishes again ! Victory, we had saved todays duck !

For the purpose of this story I have named this animal a duck, perhaps should I have given it a gender and a name like Donald but it would have been too much wouldn’t it ? I very much doubt this is a duck though or perhaps a cousin from Florida, who knows ? If you do, please don’t let me in my lack of knowledge and tell me the real name of the little birdie !

As for the heroes of the day, we shot a picture of them, didn’t take the time to ask their names but we gave them a card with the blog and hope they are reading this right now ! Guys, thank you, you were fantastic and please feel free to comment, if we happen to be in Florida again one day, on the road of our adventures, we could go grab a beer together and remind ourselves of the good old duck in Sarasota Key !

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

DUCK RESCUE TEAM

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COMMENTS

3 comments

Gill on 2015-12-17
It seems to me your "Duck" is a Cormorant : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormorant. Among the other birds that regularly get caught in a fishing line in the area. This is nice to take the time to rescue them.

Jen Shellenbeger on 2015-12-13
Thank you for documenting this experience. My husband, JR and I were honored to be a part of saving this wildlife. Manasota Key Beach is our favorite beach and we try to take care of it. This is by far the best thing we have ever, ever done. Your pictures are AMAZING!!!

Kriss on 2015-12-13
Jen : Thank you Jen and JR this was a great experience and our children will surely remember that anecdote and will be inspired ! Great time saving that bird (except perhaps for JR's hand). Have a wonderful day :)

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