Texas State Aquarium to Release Rehabilitated Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks on July 15

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – On Saturday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m., the Texas State Aquarium’s Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital will release six rehabilitated black-bellied whistling ducks back into their natural habitat at the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The ducks being released were rescued from two different locations in Corpus Christi. Four of the ducks were originally brought in as ducklings on April 29 by a local fire chief who discovered the animals in the middle of the road with their parents. As several people attempted to herd the animals off the road, the ducklings became separated from their parents and were unable to be reunited. Since the ducklings were unable to survive on their own, they were brought into the Second Chances hospital. Staff placed the ducklings in an ICU unit to reduce their stress level, where they were provided supportive care and given proper nutrition and a clean environment. The ducklings grew and were moved to an outdoor pool enclosure, where they showed signs of flight and were moved to a designated holding area to test their flight ability. The ducks were conditioned for two weeks and are now all able to fly extremely well and have been determined to be ready to be released into their natural habitat.

Two of the ducks being released were rescued by Second Chances staff from a waste water treatment plant on May 11 when they were ducklings. Upon receiving a call about the ducklings, Second Chances staff were concerned the birds could not survive in the area and responded quickly, since they’d seen other birds that had ingested fatal levels of bacteria from the plant’s water tanks and surrounding vegetation. Arriving on-site, Second Chances staff found that these ducklings had gotten trapped in a water tank and were separated from their parents. Unable to escape, they were at risk of drowning from fatigue. Staff removed the birds from the tank and relocated them to the Second Chances hospital, where they were given an extensive treatment of antibiotics to combat the bacteria they’d come in contact with. Once their immune systems had recovered and they’d grown, they were also put into flight conditioning, and they are now fully healthy and are flying well with the other group of ducks.

All of the ducks being released were rescued thanks in part to the quick response and expertise of Second Chances staff, but also because of attentive citizens who notified Second Chances. If you locate a bird in a roadway or urban environment, Second Chances recommends you relocate them to a safer area if possible, but they emphasize that you should never put yourself in danger or separate young birds from their parents. If a bird appears to be injured, orphaned, or otherwise in trouble, you can contact the Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital immediately at (361) 881-1210. To learn more about the Second Chances program and to donate, visit texasstateaquarium.org/conservation/second-chance-wildlife-rehabilitation-program/.

What: Photo/video/interview opportunity: Release of rehabilitated black-bellied whistling ducks

When: Saturday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m.

Where: Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge, Corpus Christi, TX