A Whistling Duck’s unusual migration

A West Indian Whistling Duck made a
migration of a different sort recently when it was returned to Cayman Brac on
board a Cayman Airways flight.

The duck was found by Robert Walton
in the Brac on 24 August after a motorist had hit it. It was suffering from a
head injury and needed immediate attention.

As it was decided that the bird
would be able to get better treatment in Grand Cayman, it was flown from Cayman
Brac on board a Cayman Airways Express flight.

The duck, quickly dubbed Woody, was
taken into the care of Cayman Wildlife Rescue, a programme of the National
Trust for the Cayman Islands.

It took several weeks of care to
prepare Woody for release into the wild. Long-time Cayman Wildlife Rescue
volunteer and ‘whistler specialist’ Carolyn Perkins cared for him tirelessly.

Progress was slow at first, but
soon Woody regained his motor skills, walking first and eventually regaining
his flying skills as well.

“I thank all the parties involved
in the rescue and rehabilitation of this duck, it indeed took many hours of
volunteer care and the continued support of Cayman Airways has been an
essential for our programme to offer care for wildlife in the Sister Islands,”
said Alison Corbett, programme manager for Cayman Wildlife Rescue.

On 15 September, Woody was finally
ready to make his voyage home. Of course, as he was now used to travelling in
style, he was put on a Cayman Airways Express flight back to the Brac, where
Robert Walton received the duck. Woody reportedly rejoined his flock, taking to
the water immediately and seemed very relaxed and at home.

“We are proud to assist Cayman
Wildlife Rescue with the transportation of injured wildlife,” said Jodene Scott
of Cayman Airways.

One of the major threats to West
Indian Whistling Ducks in the Cayman Islands is traffic.

“Being hit by car remains one of
the top reasons for wildlife injuries. This is further compounded by the issue
of people feeding wildlife near roads. We strongly caution the public on
feeding wildlife, especially near roads as it attracts them into unsafe areas
and alters their normal feeding and behaviour patterns,” said Ms Corbett.

Members of the public who would
like to support Cayman Wildlife Rescue can make a donation to Cayman Wildlife
Rescue and mail to PO Box 31116, KY1-1205 or purchase symbolic wildlife
adoption kits available at the National Trust gift shop. For more information
visit caymanwildliferescue.org.


The Wildlife Rescue Hotline,
917-BIRD (2474), sponsored by LIME, is available for the public to call for
injured, sick or orphaned native and migratory wildlife.


Woody get ready for his migration.
Photo: Submitted

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