After the wonderful conversation I had with the Green Gardenista, I thought we had totally exhausted the topic of healthy backyard ponds. But, as the plant life grows at an alarming rate, so does the wildlife that inhabit the woods around my pond. Build a pond and they will come. It is truly amazing that without any special encouragement, mammals, birds, bugs, frogs, turtles, snakes and other creatures will just appear and join the pond party.
My son, his girlfriend and I were enjoying our lunch on the deck that overlooks the pond when I noticed a strong rippling effect over the water. It was not quite a splash, but something (thought it was a frog at first) was frantically positioning itself onto a lily pad. On closer inspection, a small bird had fallen or hopped into the pond. It was madly flailing its webless feet in circles on the lily pad. To save it from drowning, he scooped it out with a fishing net and I went off to identify it. I must admit, instead of riffling through a field guide, I took the easy route and sent a picture of the small bird with large feet to my sister-in-law who is a veterinarian. She identified it as a newborn baby turkey or poult, and told us to dropper feed it a tiny bit of water and call a wildlife rehab center.
Initially, I had very little luck getting a rehab person to call me back, but the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) got right back to me. They told us to set the baby turkey back into the woods and let nature takes its course. We were worried it would die, so I called the rehabilitators again. Eventually, a wildlife rehab person came and took the baby turkey.
Next: What to do if you find baby or injured wildlife in your yard