Diving ducks crash landing on bridges over Rocky River

More than a dozen hurt or killed in a week

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - A certain type of duck is crash landing onto the Detroit Ave. and Clifton Blvd. bridges over the Rocky River, possibly confusing the slick asphalt for a stream.

Six red-breasted mergansers, which are diving ducks, were brought into the Lake Erie Nature Center over the weekend with various injuries to their beaks or wings or scrapes and scratches on their feet. One was hit by a car and is being rehabbed for a fractured wing.

Nine more mergansers were found dead on the bridge Monday.

“One of the ladies that had brought them in to us she said they’re just falling out of the sky,” said Taryn Leach, wildlife specialist at the Lake Erie Nature Center. “When you’re talking about asphalt that is covered in a slight sheen of ice or water, it suddenly looks like a dark stream and they don’t know.”

Because of the placement of the ducks feet, they are clumsy on land and need to paddle before flying, which is why when they land on the bridge, they are stuck until someone helps them out.

If you come across an injured animal in need, call the Lake Erie Nature Center at (440) 871-2900 and a rehab specialist will be able to walk you through what to do.

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