We took in animal #2,500 for 2015 earlier this week. This Western Grebe is what’s considered a “road strike” case. At night, these birds fly from place to place and when they see asphalt lit up (by street lights or even headlights), it looks like water to them. They attempt to land on it but find, to their horror, that it’s not a lake. The problem with grebes landing on roadways has to do with their anatomy: Because they are aquatic birds, their legs are too far back on their bodies to allow them to adequately walk on land. If they cannot stumble their way to a body of water during the night, death becomes a real possibility. Coyotes will eat them, cars will hit them, or starvation will occur if they can’t find live fish. It is a chaotic experience.
This one got lucky. A caring woman picked it up and brought it to us from Lakewood in afternoon traffic. NaTasha, our wildlife manager, was able to release the bird into a lake the next day. We love happy endings, don’t you?