Monday, March 17, 2014

He ain't nothing but a Red-Necked


Thing happen around here that are both fascinating and just odd.  Last Friday, Dave was settling down for a good nap. We're getting over our colds slowly. Chores were done, and he had the time...

A Coworker of his calls, they have what they say is a juvenile goose that's near their pond. We have geese, come over and get it before their dogs get it. The Coworker has hunting dogs trained for retrieving geese, ducks and pheasant. So there's sort of a rush rush to this scenario.  I wake up Dave, we put the dog kennel in the back of the Jeep and head on out to the other side of town.  What's funny is that there IS another side of town when the town's population is about 1,300 people.

The coworker's place is off a dirt road near a creek. He's got a pond, but it's frozen over right now, and some nice work areas to perpetuate his hobby of fixing up old cars.  We get out, he points over near the pond and there sits a bird. It's small enough to be a juvie Goose, but...

It ain't no goose once we get up near it.  

Long, sharp beak, odd feet - almost webbed, but not - and a hideous screech any time we got near it. We chase it for a minute or two and it eventually skitters too fast and turns on it's back. Dave endures it's beak and gets it into the Jeep. A search online when we got it home and covered was to give us the name of this species as Red-Necked Grebe. A migratory bird very dependent on open waters to survive, this guy must have tried to fly to where he knew there was a pond only to have that pond frozen over. Winter has not ended here, everything is still frozen.

We take a few pictures, search for some place to take this bird for rehab and wait for answers.
 This is what the little fella looks like when it's threatened, this time by my hand.  He puffs up his head and gets this great Elvis look. I needed to show it's defining characteristics to get a confirmation of his species.

As you see, he's in a dog kennel with towels draped on the outside. With the thing entirely covered, the guy settled down quickly and we didn't hear much from him.

Without the threatening hand near him, he did have many characteristics of geese: Long neck, small head, kinda  a longish tapered body. His feet gave him away though. They are lobular and have an almost-webbed appearance. The lobular feet plus the tapered beak made me think water bird with a diet of fish and small amphibians.

Saturday morning, after getting no response from one rehab center, I decided to call my Vet, who gave me a # which I called, which gave me another # of a Wildlife Rehab center partnered with Dane County Humane Society.  Just as Dave and I were considering whether we start with our day's chores and not wait any more for a return call...they called. Could we bring the fella to them?

We put him in our cat carrier and drove him up to Madison. They were very intrigued by the guy and thankful that we took the time to rescue him. These Grebes are not common in this area of the state and as the fella looked to be in good condition, they were confident that he could be rehabilitated and release back into the wild quickly.

Here is where I put my shameless plug for the Rehab facility that took him in: Four Lakes Wildlife Center is located near Madison, and they were very helpful to us. Because we were in a hurry to get the fella to their facility; we left all our money at home. Thankfully I had a gift card in my purse for Culver's or we'd have a hungry drive home. Give them a donation, if you can. I've been thinking of putting up a few of my knitted items on Etsy to sell and donate the money to them.

I'll post pictures to what's being sold on Etsy for them. I know I have a nice, lacey scarf that needs to be blocked, plus a shawlette that is a prototype that I will be putting up for sale soon. It's my Spring Break, so I can get a few things whipped out in honor of the RedNeck Grebe.

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