Duck rescue is a complex operation. It involves months of planning, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and countless skill-sets.
And there’s no doubt about it – standing out on the frontline in front of shooters with guns, documenting and bearing witness to extreme cruelty, and helping injured birds takes some serious guts.
These photos show just some of what being on our (volunteer) rescue team is all about.
1. It means getting up really, REALLY early.
We rise at 4am to claim our space on the wetland and set up camp.
2. Media interviews.
Coalition Against Duck Shooting Campaign Director, Laurie Levy, is famous for juggling rescue and media calls on opening weekend. One of the most important parts about duck rescue is letting the rest of the state (and country) know why you’re there.
3. Bearing witness to extreme cruelty.
Whether it’s you’re first time on the team, or you have been doing it for 30 years, there’s still no way to truly describe the cruelty happening right in front of you.
4. It also means heartbreak.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you lose them before you get back to base camp. And it’s soul destroying.
5. But also some happier moments.
Like when a bird you rescue is showing promising signs of recovery, despite falling victim to shooter’s guns.
6. Risking fines & convictions.
Not only do our rescue team risk their safety to protect nativewaterbirds – they are put at risk of fines of nearly $1000, banning orders and convictions for their vital, lifesaving work.
7. Our vet team has one of the hardest jobs.
They deal with all of the casualities. And some of them don’t make it. But if it weren’t for our vets & vet nurses, the birds could suffer for weeks while slowly dying.
8. Oh, and there’s some seriously cold water.
Rising at dawn, wading through cold, mucky water. Sounds appealing, right?
It’s worth it for the ducks.
9. Running through said seriously-cold-water.
Rescuers will tell you – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of holding an injured bird clinging onto life in your arms. You will do anything to get them to the vets as quickly as possible.
10. Sometimes it can be incredibly overwhelming.
Like when you can’t keep up with how many wounded and dead birds there are.
11. And it’s really difficult.
Especially when you see shooters continuously flout laws and kill protected birds, like this rare Freckled Duck.
12. But one thing is for sure: we’re all in this together.
And we will get duck shooting banned.
Duck rescuers = heroes.
Want to join the team? You can register here.