It’s always tragic when an animal becomes entangled with plastic debris, or is otherwise affected by human waste, but such stories can also be refreshing, uplifting examples of the good side of human nature. This week, for instance, a widespread rescue mission is underway in New York city’s Central Park as both rangers from the city’s parks department and bird enthusiasts search for a duck reportedly entangled by a piece of plastic. The duck, a female merganser, has a plastic ring caught around her beak and neck, preventing her from feeding.
I should be thrilled to see this Common Merganser hen, seen on the Lake in Central Park today, as it marks the 199th bird species I've seen in the park since I got back into birding in '16. However, it's tough to see it suffer due to our use of plastic. Rescue attempts ongoing. pic.twitter.com/hRTT9vzv6M
— Bradley Kane (@WinoBradNY) February 23, 2020
Once park officials became aware of the situation, rangers were dispatched in kayaks to search for the duck, remove the plastic, and bring the creature to the Wild Bird Fund rehabilitation center. Others, including avid bird watchers and bird photographers, took to the park themselves to assist in the search.
As of right now, rangers haven’t been able to locate the duck, but they’re seeking any help they can get. On the Manhattan Bird Alert Twitter page, rangers put out a call to the community for any tips on the duck’s whereabouts. “If you see her, let us know!” the account says. Hopefully, the crowdsourcing effort pays off.