Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week

Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week title=
Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week
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Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

Patient #119 of this year: Long-tailed Duck (rare patient!)
Status: Still in Care

On January 23rd, this Long-tailed Duck was brought to SB Wildlife Care Network from the Santa Barbara Harbor with a keel injury. This is a rare species at SBWCN - with this being the only Long-tailed Duck to have come into care on record! Once the duck arrived at the Wildlife Care Center, our expert team found an extensive, deep lesion on his keel as well as a leg laceration. Staff administered fluids, antibiotics, and pain-relievers until the veterinary team could perform surgery to clean and close the wounds. After a successful surgery, he is now in recovery, rebuilding strength and waterproofing his feathers to return back to the wild. 

Long-tailed Ducks are expert divers, reaching up to 200 ft to forage for small fish and invertebrates. To the Santa Barbara area, they are a rare visitor. Usually, they reside in the Arctic Circle of Northern Canada, Alaska, and Greenland and migrate only as far south as Southern Canada and the Northeastern United States. So what would a Long-tailed Duck be doing in sunny California? Impacts of climate change are an increasing concern for these ducks and their habitat may be shifting as a result. The Long-tailed Duck population is currently in a steep decline and they are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. If they continue declining, they may move to being listed as an endangered species. Contributing factors to the Long-tailed Duck population decline include changes in ocean conditions due to climate change, habitat shifting and degradation, overfishing and food availability, direct hunting, fossil fuel production, pollution, entanglement in fishing nets, and lead exposure. 

Rehabilitation of wildlife is exhausting, strenuous work, but we are motivated everyday to see patients like #119 improve to be returned back to the wild. The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network has cared for 140 patients since the start of this year, a 33% increase from this time last year. 65 of them are still receiving care at the Wildlife Care Center. You can help animals like this Long-tailed Duck get their second chance at a wild life by going to www.sbwcn.org/donate.

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missausten Jan 31, 2021 11:56 AM
Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week

Let's see......species vulnerable. So return one to the no longer wild, polluted, overfished, entangling fishing nets, hunting with lead bullets, fragmented and disappearing habitat that is its fate. Couldn't you stop returning species to the same miserable environment and send them to a sanctuary instead where they could safely live and reproduce? Am I the only one who cringes at this repetitive revolving door, this failure to see the big picture?

a-1612158873 Jan 31, 2021 09:54 PM
Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week

Would you really prefer to not treat the animal? And not play by current wildlife rescue rules, which mandate return? Animal care workers are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Your reaction reminds me of people who object to trapped animals being released in the same area they were taken from.

Pebblehill Jan 31, 2021 11:43 PM
Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week

Wildlife that have been rehabbed go back to the wild, not to sanctuaries which is considered completely unethical to do if the animal has recovered. And there are plenty of habitats still healthy enough for almost all the species cared for at our local wildlife rescue.

tagdes Jan 31, 2021 08:24 PM
Long-tailed Duck: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week

Z I'd definitely like to see some verification of your Long-tailed Duck, Clangula hyemalis post. There has only been 1 posted by SBCobirding, eBird, and the SB Audubon since Dec of 2018, a couple in 2011 and none until 2006.

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