A Little Drama on a Short Walk, 06-04-21

Ugh! I got absolutely no sleep last night because of the Poltergeist and hip pain. Ibuprofen cuts the edges off the hip pain, but doesn’t touch the nerve pain at all.  Still, I felt I should get outside and walk, so I took my dog Esteban with me to William Land Park.  It was 63° when we got here around 6:30, but warmed up fast. Within 90 minutes it was already 70° outside.

We walked through the WPA Rock Garden and around the middle pool, but I couldn’t do much more than that.

It’s almost impossible to maneuver my cane, my camera and my dog on a leash at the same time, so I’d resigned myself to not getting very many photos. Still, I got a few.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

As we were walking back to the car, I saw a woman in a Wildlife Rescue shirt carrying a large net.  She was going after a black duck — who was paired up with a larger white Pekin duck.  I could see something hanging off the black duck’s bottom and assumed it was a fishing lure or something like that. [I’d seen similar injuries to ducks and geese at Mather Lake Regional Park. More recently, a goose with a longbow bolt impaled in its bottom was rescued.]  I took some photos and some video, even though the action was pretty fast and most of the ducks’ movements were a blur.

Wildlife Rescue worker chasing down the black duck.

The woman chased them around trees and tried to corral them against a planter — but the ducks ran or flew off away from her, just out of reach. Eventually, she was successful in catching the black duck, and just as she did so, three or four other ducks ran at her (as though coming to the black one’s rescue).  None of them got near her, though, and she was able to get the netted bird by its wings and carried it back to her vehicle. My drama for the morning.

All the while this was going on, Esteban was watching, but made no attempt to chase the ducks, or bark, or interfere in any way.  I was very proud of him.

When I got home, I checked the pictures I’d managed to get of the black duck and realized that it wasn’t a fishing lure hanging from underneath it. It was the duck’s prolapsed penis. Ouch!  Most male birds don’t have a penis, but many ducks and geese do, and “prolapsed phallus” is apparently something they have to deal with quite often. 

There was even a TV animal rescue show that had a segment on the condition.

This happens when the male ducks “… are unable to retract their male genital (phallus) back inside of their body. It requires immediate attention to avoid complications such as secondary bacterial contamination and irreversible damage. A prolapsed phallus is usually trauma-induced, but can sometimes also be a clinical sign related to venereal disease or duck plague. When the phallus is outside of the body, it runs the risk of becoming enlarged and swollen, dry and ulcerating, and necrotic during advanced stages… But since (unlike mammals) a drake doesn’t use his penis for peeing, but only for procreation, he can get along just fine without it.” Poor drakes!

I walked for about 90 minutes, but because I didn’t get very far, I didn’t count this toward my #52HikeChallenge.

Species List:

  1. Bear’s Breeches, Acanthus mollis
  2. Blue Jacaranda, Jacaranda mimosifolia
  3. Caper Bush, Capparis spinosa
  4. Common Yucca, Yucca filamentosa
  5. Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
  6. Coulter’s Matilija Poppy, Romneya coulteri
  7. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  8. Elegant Clarkia, Clarkia unguiculata
  9. European Honeybee, Western Honeybee, Apis mellifera
  10. Indian Runner Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Runner
  11. Italian Cypress, Mediterranean Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens
  12. Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthos flavidus
  13. Lavender, Lavandula sp.
  14. Lavender-Cotton, Santolina chamaecyparissus [silver leaves, yellow button flowers]
  15. Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus
  16. Love-in-a-Mist, Niallgella damascena
  17. Milky Slug, Deroceras reticulatum
  18. Mullein, Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria [thin stick, white or yellow]
  19. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  20. Prickly Poppy, Argemone sp.
  21. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  22. Smokebush, Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria
  23. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
  24. Western Sycamore, Platanus racemosa
  25. White-Breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
  26. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  27. Yellow Bird-of-Paradise Shrub, Erythrostemon gilliesii