Feb 21, 2014

More Friday Rounds

By Deanna Barth

As part of my "Friday Rounds", looking for injured birds, I pulled into the parking lot of Lake El Estero in Monterey. 

All of the waterfowl and gulls were resting at the water’s edge. I scanned the group with binoculars and didn’t see any obvious injuries. 

Then, I approached the group slowly, applying enough pressure to encourage each bird to stand so that I could check its legs as well.  

Each stood and walked off…..except one.  

It was resting on the gravel pathway and with me standing just a few feet away, it didn’t even flinch.  

I crouched down to get a better look and realized the problem. It's right eye was so badly infected - there was so much discharge it couldn’t see me. At least not from that eye. 

I took a step forward and it immediately cocked its head to one side on full alert!

I moved again, as quietly as I could, and its head twisted back and forth trying to figure out where I was.  

That’s when I removed my shoes so they wouldn’t crunch on the gravel, and tip-toed in my socks, making sure to stay on the bird’s right side. When I was comfortably within arms reach, I rested my hand on its back and applied just enough downward pressure to restrain it, then grabbed hold of its head and bill.

I transferred it to the SPCA wildlife center and it’s scheduled to be evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

Knowing how vulnerable this bird would be to predators, people or dogs in the park, I was happy that I picked it up.