Have you found a DUCKLING?

If the duckling is covered in down (fluff but no feathers) or is a juvenile (has mostly adult feathers but still may have down visible) and there is no visible parent nearby, look around thoroughly in nearby trees and on the ground for a parent. If the parent is present, monitor from a distance to ensure they reunite with the duckling. If there is no parent, call us at 713-468-8972. If you suddenly find ducklings in your yard (usually found in yards with a pool) with or without a parent present, call us at 713-468-8972 before attempting to intervene.

Have you found an INJURED or ILL aquatic bird?

If you find an aquatic bird of any age that is:

  • Caught by a cat or dog
  • Visibly injured
  • Unable to walk
  • Limping or dragging a limb
  • Lethargic
  • Covered in ants or flies

Please contact us at 713-468-8972 as soon as possible to determine further steps. If we are closed, leave a voicemail and follow the Temporary Care Instructions below.

Temporary Care Instructions for ALL Animals:

  • TWRC recommends that you wear gloves or use a cloth barrier when handling wildlife.
  • Prepare an appropriate-sized cardboard box by poking air holes in the top and placing a soft cloth (T-Shirt, towel, paper towels) in the bottom. DO NOT put the animal into a plastic bag.
  • Place the animal into the prepared box and tape the box shut. For injured adults, place the box on its side next to the animal and use a stick, broom, or rolled-up newspaper to gently push the animal into the box.
  • Do not give the animal any food or liquids. Feeding an animal an incorrect diet can result in injury or death. In addition, rescued animals can get wet from liquids and become hypothermic and/or spill food on their fur/feathers, potentially causing damage.
  • Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Darkness makes the animal feel more secure. If the animal is a baby, the box can be placed half on and half off a heating pad set on low. If the animal gets too warm it will move to the other end of the box. Do not place adult animals on a heating pad.
  • Leave the animal alone. Human noise, touch, and eye contact are very stressful to wild animals and can result in shock or even death. This is especially important in the case of injured or adult animals.
  • If an animal has been caught by a cat or dog, please call TWRC immediately at 713-468-8972. Even if wounds are not visible, the animal needs medical intervention as soon as possible.
  • Keep children and pets away. BE CAREFUL! An animal that is hurt or frightened may bite.
  • Call TWRC at 713-468-8972 as soon as possible!

General Information about Aquatic Birds in the Houston Area

  • There are hundreds of aquatic birds in the Houston area. A few of the most commonly admitted species by TWRC Wildlife Center are: black-bellied whistling-ducklings (Dendrocygna autumnalis), muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata), and yellow-crowned night-herons (Nyctanassa violacea). Some other examples of aquatic birds in the Houston area include geese, grebes, loons, cranes, rails, gallinules, coots, gulls, terns, skimmers, spoonbills, cormorants, pelicans, herons, egrets, ibises, and many more.These aquatic birds range in size from five inches to four feet tall. The Greater Houston area is home to the world’s smallest shorebird called the Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) weighing in at one ounce. For reference, that is as much as one AA battery! This wide variety of birds have vast variation in life expectancy ranging from ducks which can be as short as five years to Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) with a lifespan of up to 37 years.

    The breeding season for aquatic birds is generally in the spring and summer months. Ducklings specifically are most commonly found from March-August but can be found as late in the year as October.


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