Anyhoo, over Memorial Weekend Auntie B and her friend went over the hill to the beach - not Santa Cruz but south of there. Those are the BEST BEACHES ever. I went there last Summer with the FAMILY, remember?
BUT BACK TO AUNTIE B'S STORY, Sheesh!
Auntie B was walking along the coast looking for seashells when she and her friend saw this bird just sitting near the water line. It was clearly sick or injured. It was unlike any bird Auntie B could remember seeing before -
Later she found out it was a Western Grebe, rather common in Northern Cali but it is a water bird prone to stay in the water off shore.
So the tide was coming in an occasional waves made it up to where the bird was sitting. Auntie B and her friend were not sure what to do but needed to do something before it floated out with a wave. They had always been taught to leave wildlife alone but this was clearly an unusual situation. What to do?
First they called the ranger to see if he/she could help. But the coastal rangers have no protocol for dealing with injured shorebirds although they said perhaps they could send someone down. So Auntie B waited 30 mins or more - no one came. She called the ranger again and was told perhaps it would be better to call one of the local rescue groups. So they did and managed to get a hold of someone even though it was a holiday weekend. The group said they could try and find a volunteer to come down.
So they waited some more. In the meantime, seagulls were circling, the tide was really coming in big time, and the sun was moving down toward sunset and the temperature was getting cool. Auntie B was jumping around trying to chase away the seagulls and even then was getting cold. Her friend called to say no one had shown up yet and the person on the phone said no volunteers could be found.
Could they bring it in? They decided yes and were told to wrap the bird in a towel, put it in a box and bring it over. Well . . . their car was almost a MILE away! So Auntie B's friend took off for the car, a towel and a box leaving Auntie B to mind MR. GREBE and fend off predatory birds. At this point the tide was almost fully in and threatening to pull Mr. Grebe out to sea; so Auntie B made the ON-THE-SPOT decision to take off her sweatshirt (even though it was very brisk at this point) to wrap around the bird and carry it to the car.
She was fighting a cold wind, slippery sand, and panic but she eventually made her way to the CAR where her friend had just wrangled a box out of the trunk and was heading back. They made Mr. Grebe as comfortable as possible and headed to the rescue house. There they dropped the bird off with the rescue ladies and turned their car toward home. She prayed all the way home that Mr. Grebe would be comfortable and able to rehabilitate at the rescue home. She found our later that night that sadly Mr. Grebe did not make it.
Auntie B is very sad that he didn't make it BUT she knows he had a better chance since she and her friend helped.
If you encounter injured wildlife, FIRST find an authority to take care of it.These are people trained in handling sick or injured animals and birds. Usually they will send out one of their trained volunteers. If they are not available, follow instructions, like Auntie B and her friend did, to transport the animal or bird. http://www.nativeanimalrescue.org/found-an-animal/seabirds/
|I love you Auntie B|
This story tells so much about Auntie B's heart - that's why I love her so much!