The Norman Transcript

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November 25, 2013

Ruddy ducks injured during weekend winter weather

NOBLE — A flock of ruddy ducks migrating south were overcome with sleet and landed on glistening roads in Noble and surrounding areas this weekend. 

Rondi Large, director of WildCare Foundation, said ruddy ducks generally migrate at night — just when the icy weather was coming through.

She said dark, wet roads glisten like a lake or pond, and when the ducks came in for a landing with iced-over wings and tail feathers, they hit pavement and kind of “crash dived.”

Some of the ducks had minor foot lacerations and beak wounds, but Large said, “luckily, most were just cold.”

So far, 24 of the stranded ducks have been brought to and treated by WildCare at 7601 84th St. in Noble.

Large said she received a call that more ducks were on their way in.

Ruddy ducks need water to build momentum and become airborne. So, since the birds landed on pavement, they’re literally sitting ducks.

Noble residents, including Austin Lee, have been picking the ducks up and taking them to WildCare for treatment prior to release. Lee rescued four of them and was trying to catch a fifth when a car deliberately ran over it in front of him, Large said.

These migratory ducks winter along the coast in bays or in unfrozen ponds and lakes. Oklahoma City, Norman and Noble are in the central flyway for birds that migrate south to warmer climes and into Mexico.

The volunteers at WildCare have treated and warmed the birds and will take them to Lake Thunderbird for release as a flock.

“The sooner we get them on their migration, the better off they’ll be,” Large said.

She encourages people who see the ducks to pick them up and bring them to WildCare.

“They do need to be picked up because they cannot fly, unless released in water,” Large said, adding that releasing them as a flock is ideal.

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