Week 5: my American Coot

Mar 24, 2019

Week 5 of my project had been completely normal, with me still working with hawks, pigeons, and possums. On Monday, however, I happened to be taking a walk at the park when I noticed an American Coot (duck) limping far more than usual. It was so bad that it could barely walk to get the food people were throwing out for all the ducks. It was hopping around everywhere, often taking breaks and just laying there helpless because it hurt to move. I knew I couldn’t just stand there and let it live in pain, so I spent half an hour trying to catch it with nothing but Nathan’s jacket (he was a little mad ://// ;)) and a paper bag. After catching it and HAVING IT POOP ALL OVER MY HANDS AND CLOTHES, I held it in the bag until we got home where I put it in a little duck box we had used for our previous pet ducks. I researched its diet and noticed fish was a major component and we luckily had fish readily available. Because my internship was closed at 6 pm, I kept it overnight and was so happy to see it had eaten all of its fish and vegetables in the morning. I immediately rushed it to work hoping it would survive until I got there so they could do a quick examination. My heart stopped when I heard that its leg was not only broken, but completely disconnected at the root of its shank (leg). If this break had been a couple inches below that joint, this problem could have been fixed over time. Due to the severity, however, the coot had to be euthanized to prevent any further pain. As hard as it was, this was the most ethical thing to do. Being an animal lover, you want to save every animal possible. Sometimes, it turns out that the best way to save the animal is to let it soar free, away from the pain. Thankfully, this experience taught me a lot and made me stronger.

Other than that, my week was pretty basic.

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