St. Catharines firefighters save ducks trapped in ice
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — It was a rescue for the birds in St. Catharines Tuesday.
Firefighters jumped a fence near the Port Dalhousie pier for an ice rescue with all the necessary gear: bright yellow water-entry suits, life-jackets, rope, shovels — and a bird cage.
Five ducks were frozen to the ice. One was particularly panicky, flapping its wings wildly in a futile attempt to free itself.
Firefighters Derek Kohut and Andrew Harpwood braved the conditions near the harbour wall and freed the ducks.
“We were just chipping away at the ice underneath the ducks,” Kohut said. “They were frozen the whole length of their body, and they weren’t too happy.
“We were really careful using the shovels. We didn’t want to damage their feet, but the feet were actually tucked up alongside their body, so it wasn’t much of a problem. It’s the feathers on their belly that froze to the ice. The ducks lost some feathers, but they were all right.
“They flapped their wings a lot at first, but then they were really calm when we were holding them.”
Lincoln County Humane Society executive director Kevin Strooband checked out two of the ducks that appeared to be injured. He released one of them, but the other duck’s feathers were too coated with ice to fly.
“We are going to take this one back to the humane society to thaw out and to dry out” Strooband said, holding the duck swaddled in a blanket.
Firefighters Derek Kohut and Andrew Harpwood rescue a duck from the ice in Port Dalhousie. The St. Catharines Fire Department and the Lincoln County Humane Society braved the cold to rescue ducks that had frozen to the ice in Port Dalhousie on Monday, January 7, 2014. Julie Jocsak/ The St. Catharines Standard/ QMI Agency