Woman Finds Duck Trapped In The Saddest Way

He couldn't eat or drink — but help came just in time.

The person who left this trash behind probably hadn't given it a second thought — but their litter nearly cost a bird his life.

This plastic ring, likely from a bottle, was trapped around the duck's head. | Glenda Maguire

Last week, Glenda Maguire was at home in South Africa when she spotted a flock of ducks fly in and settle near a lake that borders her property. Normally, that’s a pleasant sight, but on this day it was heartbreaking. Maguire soon realized that something was seriously wrong with one of the birds.

“I went to get my camera as I have a great zoom,” she told The Dodo. “I then noticed that there was plastic on his beak and he was trying desperately to get it off.”

Maguire and her husband immediately set about trying to catch the duck using a cage trap, but the whole flock flew away not long after. She alerted others to keep an eye out for the distressed bird, while continuing to help him herself.

But rescue wouldn't come easy.

Glenda Maguire

It's unclear how long the duck had been trapped by the plastic ring, but being unable to eat, drink or preen normally, he stood little chance of surviving long in that state — and the duck seemed to understand that.

Two days later, the flock returned to Maguire's house, but by then the trapped duck appeared to have given up hope.

Glenda Maguire

By the next day, Maguire feared that time was running out. She decided to try a riskier approach and capture him with a net. But before she could, he volunteered himself — waddling into the cage they had baited with food.

"I do believe it was a miracle," Maguire said. "He had no reason to walk into the cage as he could not eat."

The duck had allowed himself to be caught, and Maguire was ecstatic.

Glenda Maguire

With a lifesaving snip, the plastic ring was removed ...

Glenda Maguire

... and the poor duck was finally freed.

Glenda Maguire

Although the bird was hungry and thirsty following his ordeal, he showed no signs of lasting injury. So, with that, Maguire returned him to the outdoors, where he could continue his recovery within sight of his rescuers.

Glenda Maguire

"The first thing he did was take a bath," Maguire said.

This duck was clearly happy to have made it out alive.

Glenda Maguire

For the next two days, while his flock came and went, the lucky duck worked on regaining his strength: "He just ate and drank and ate and drank!" Maguire said.

Soon, he was back to his old self again, merging with his flock after his death-defying experience.

Glenda Maguire

Sadly, while this duck's rescue was remarkable, the predicament he was in is not.

An untold number of birds, and other wild animals, are killed or injured due to improperly discarded waste; those fortunate enough to survive such encounters are sometimes changed forever. That's why, even when disposing of garbage properly, it's important to take certain steps, like cutting up plastic trash, to avoid potential entanglements.

Maguire hopes that learning about the duck's ordeal will help to inspire people not to litter, and to be more mindful of how their waste can be a killer.

"If it prevents even just one animal's suffering, it will be worth it," she said.