We don’t often get the truly aquatic birds, so when the call came for a loon, we were keen to help. The woman who called PROWLS said it was on the beach at Donkersley, which meant it was definitely in trouble, as loons rarely leave the water.
We collected a large kennel and went straight out. We got to the beach and turned in the direction we were told to look for it, and there it was, well above the water line, lying beak down in the sand.
Common loons are large birds, almost as large as a Canada goose, so there was no quick scoop to get it into the kennel. Fortunately for us, they are very slow and awkward on land at the best of times, so we simply walked up to it, gently lifted it and maneuvered it into the large dog kennel. The lovely loon offered token resistance, trying to bite us.
On the drive back to town, we called MARS Wildlife Rescue in Courtenay to ask if they would take the loon, as these birds need special care we are unable to provide.
We drove it straight to the ferry terminal, where the staff and crew took it from us and kept it safe and comfortable for the trip, handing it off to a MARS volunteer for the final leg of its journey. Once there, the professionals at MARS diagnosed a respiratory infection and started it on a course of medication.
Our fingers are crossed for a recovery.