Plucky Shamley Green duckling 'Ringo' has definitely become a star!
The story of 'Ringo' told by Duck Guardian Angel Claire Jenkinson in the summer of 2021:
About 9 weeks ago the Village Duck pond suddenly came to life with the arrival of 14 tiny ducklings accompanied by a very proud Mother Duck and they were all enjoying life amazingly safely despite possible predators or fast moving traffic on the lanes. The pond was enjoyed by lots of people sitting on the bench or having picnics, and as a result of carelessness with litter - disaster was about to strike!
Some three weeks ago we noticed one of the 14 ducklings on the Duck pond had got a white plastic ring caught round its neck, which clearly was causing him (or her) great discomfort and alienation from the other ducklings. Local Karen McKeogh kindly called Swans & Friends Bird Rescue, and John Potts and his assistant Mandy came promptly in their Vet Ambulance to try and rescue the duckling - aided by Patrick Mannix, but it proved impossible as ducklings move very quickly guided by their vigilant Mum and they then fled to the Bricklayers Pond miraculously surviving the main road. Next morning incredibly they were all safely back on the duck pond.
We tried in vain to lure the injured duckling - who we christened 'Ringo' - close enough to catch him by
hand with tempting floating and land-based food, but all attempts were unsuccessful - they are wild
and free and would rush back into the pond at the first sign of movement let alone a big net.
Ringo then also got the white plastic ring caught in his beak and his mouth was forced open but he did free it round his neck again A couple of the ducklings really bullied him about this but he nobly carried on and seemed somehow to eat and drink and keep up his strength, but it was heart-breaking to watch.
Swans & Friends came back twice more and tried, the RSPCA responded, failed, and said they would monitor, Rowly House Vet nurses Emma and Laura tried, Carrie and Simon Thom tried with meal worms, Bruce Holtom tried, we all tried.
Then horribly the white ring got caught in Ringo's beak again forcing it open 24/7 for several days, so things were getting very serious. Last Sunday 6th June - D for Duck Day,- someone rang Wildlife Aid from Leatherhead. They borrowed a canoe apparently and also tried to rescue Ringo, but the ducklings were so terrified they fled to the Bricklayers Pond, again surviving the main road.
However, on Monday morning, 7th June, there was Ringo all by himself on the Duck Pond, with Daddy Duck hovering. I fed Ringo who was in distress and desperately trying to get the ring off - but it was still jamming his beak open and he couldn't. I rang John and Mandy urgently and they came within hours, and used a big piece of netting, Ringo somehow walked on it and was safely caught and in one snip the ring was off. He slightly resisted being held but we have photos taken by Gwen Ward of him safely in the arms of his rescuers John and Mandy.
Such a lucky and happy ending because next morning all 14 ducklings were amazingly back on the pond, with Mother Duck looking on proudly. One or two of Ringo' s siblings were still being unkind, but Ringo had settled back into family life. What a plucky lucky duck Ringo turned out to be and our heartfelt thanks to all who helped with the rescue, but especially to Swans & Friends Bird Rescue.
The moral of the tale is DO NOT DROP YOUR LITTER in the countryside or anywhere else because you may endanger wildlife. Our plucky duckling Ringo had a very lucky escape but he could have had a very horrible end if this hard-wearing plastic ring - probably off a juice bottle or similar - had not been removed, because Ringo most certainly would have died.
Thank you to all of you who cared and came to help Ringo - who with his/her siblings may soon fly away to a new life on another pond, but Ringo's plight is a lesson to us all to be more careful with our litter - TAKE IT HOME!
If you would like to donate to Swans & Friends Bird Rescue cheques/postal orders should be payable to:
SWANS & FRIENDS BIRD RESCUE and send to "Long Acre", Borers Arms Road, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3LH.
To make a BACS payment to them use: Sort Code 30-94-38 Account Number: 02700110
SWANS & FRIENDS BIRD RESCUE 07712-753919
ROWLY HOUSE VET 01483-272999
WILDLIFE AID, LEATHERHEAD 09061-800-132
RSPCA - Endangered or trapped animals 0300-123-4999