Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sore Shore Bird

 This little Dunlin was hanging out near the gravel boat launch at Shell Mound last week. Emma, Bear, and I had just beached the canoe after a good paddle, when the Dunlin caught my eye ... mainly due to his refusal to fly away after we slid in only a few feet away.

He was standing on one foot, which the shorebird clan seems to do alot, ... nothing weird there, but he had what could only be described as a "hangdog look" ... as if he just didn't feel very good.

Plus, as I mentioned, he didn't try to fly away when two humans and a giant labrador retriever pulled up next to him.
 Something had to be amiss.
I oozed over a little closer. 
He perked up when I approached him slowly, but did not fly or move away.
This Dunlin's symmetry was ... well, ... not. 
A side view showed a left ankle that seemed swollen and red compared to the right.
That looks so painful, don't you just want to lance it, flush it with hydrogen peroxide, and pack it with Neosporin?

If it were my foot, that's what I would do.

After a few photos, I left the dunlin alone to deal with his sore foot. When the canoe was all strapped down tight, I turned to see if the tiny bird was still there. He was, but at that very moment he lifted off and flew out over the water towards a shell bar just barely exposed by a falling tide.

The bar was already crowded with other dunlins, terns, and willets as he swooped in for a landing.
At least he would have company,
... misery loves company.


Sayre said...

Poor Dunlin. At least it was his foot and not his wing. A bird that can't fly is a very bad thing.

edifice rex said...

Aww, poor little feller. I hate to see a critter not feeling good.

Thunder Dave said...

Ouch is right! That's what my arthritic joints feel like these days.

Suwannee Refugee said...

I thought there was a bird rescue organization in Cedar Key. I think they deal with mostly bigger birds, but maybe they could've helped this little dude, too.

Floridacracker said...

Agreed. Hopefully this will heal.

Same here.

Does beer cause arthritis?

This bird was too healthy for rehab. Flight seemed to be no problem, so best to let em be.

Suzanne said...

I lit a candle for him at Gratefulness.org. It's not a Catholic site, it's a place to meditate, come to a place of peace and focus thoughts of Well-Being wherever in the Universe we wish to send them. After I lit my candle I looked at all the others creating a loving place in the blogosphere. I know you care about all the critters you see, thank you for sharing your heart, mind and humor, PF.

Dina said...

Such a sad sight. Glad you didn't spook him. Hopefully it will heal. I often see shorebirds with only one leg so I'm not sure how they get to that point. How would a rehabber catch him if he was flying so well?

Miz S said...

Aw. Poor little dude. I wish him good luck and hope for the best.

vicki said...

Well, that's a sad little story with really good, sad photos.

Floridacracker said...

That was very thoughtful and I thank you for the kind words.

Yes, that would (catching) be hard to do!
I think, since he flew off normally, that he stands a good chance of beating that injury.

Miz S,
You have a kind heart. Always happy to see a note from you.

I like to think that by now the swelling has gone down and he's feeling good again.
I choose that ending!

Aunty Belle said...

Ya think that li'l fella made it?

Happy New Year FC!! An' to all yore kin. Wishin' y'all a spectacular year ahead.

Floridacracker said...

Thank you Aunty! Same to you!
Yes, I have to think he did.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Ah poor dunlin. Bad infection or break or both. Ow. Thing is, as long as he can fly there's probably no catching him. And my mantra as a bird rehabilitator is: If you can't catch him, he doesn't need you yet.
I'da been grabbing the long-handled pole net and cueing up the Baytril...and probably wouldn't have caught him anyway.