Duke lived up to his regal name
There is never a good way to share bad news. It just needs to be said, be transparent, grieve, and learn. A coyote grabbed Duke! Before anyone knew it, Duke was gone without a trace.
We work so hard at protecting our dear ones from predators. After Lucky was taken by a coyote last winter, we set up coyote proof fencing all around the perimeter of the children’s garden. It is a lovely large space for the birds. In order to make it safe from predator birds, we string coloured bale twine on the top of the fencing. At night, the ducks get tucked into the aviary, the chickens into the chicken cope, and turkeys into the turkey house.
Since the summer, the birds have not been allowed to free range outside of this protected space. Until one sunny warm winter day. The volunteers were out and about doing chores and it seemed like a perfect time to let the birds visit what we loving call “pooh mountain.” This is one of their favourite spots to scratch and dig for bugs. It’s out by the back field where the cows and horses hang out. But it’s wide open to the forest on the back of our property.
A coyote was back there watching and waiting. They are so smart and she/he saw an opportunity, rushed in and grabbed Duke. There is no fence line to speak of at the perimeter of the woods. What fencing was once there is now broken and covered in blackberries. Behind this is another 4 acres of forest that is owned but has not been developed. This area connects to a few other forested areas and acts as a wildlife corridor along Pacific Highway (176 Street).
Losing Duke now, I felt his rescue story would help me cope with his loss. Remembering the circumstances where he came from and then the beautiful life he had at Kindred makes me feel a bit better. I’ve never posted before where Duke and his 6 siblings came from. They were rescued the summer of 2018 from neglect and abandonment at a local property. This video shows the condition of the area they were kept in.
With all the precautions we take to keep our birds safe, there’s still more we can do. We just got another delivery of 30 more coyote proof fencing that we will set up on the fence line between the back field and the forest. This will be one more line of defence from the wilds of the woods.
Many people didn’t understand Duke and his aloofness and major boundaries around humans. He was very slow to accept us as part of his flock. But for me, I loved hanging out with him: listening to how he talked differently to me than to his feathered peeps, leaning about flock dynamics where Duchess used to be the leader and then it was Duke and then Arthur, how he would spend time grooming each one of his hundreds of white feathers, how he could withstand any weather – even the freezing cold on his web feet, his loyalty to his flock, how he loved the daily volunteer animal care routine and was even always one step ahead of us.
Duke had the honour of being sponsored by Duke Schindler the dog. How cool is that!
Duke thank you for watching over your flock. Fly free now.
Keryn Denroche, Founder/Director
I would love it if more people would honour the majesty and intelligence of all birds