Red Dirt Farm and Studio

Living a creative life artist farmer dreamer

This is the post that I had planned to share today.

We loaded up the car with our precious cargo and headed out.

Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary was our destination.

After 8 weeks of caring for our little Wood duck, we named Lucky the time had come to move him to a facility that could prepare him for the next big adventure – life in the wild.  Coming to the place in my heart of accepting that it would be best for Lucky to live in the wild with other wood ducks was easy and very hard and it hurt.  Knowing in my head and having my heart accept it just made me sad.

From the beginning we agreed, that as soon as Lucky learned to fly, he would be able to be on his.  The last two weeks he was with us, he entertained us with his flying lessons.  Short low flights in the beginning and towards the end of his time with us ceiling height flights around the living room, through the front hall back into the kitchen and the back hall.  He had grown quite skillful and learned how to duck the lights, the kitchen cabinets, and other objects in his path.  It was time for him to be outdoors.

I called the wildlife sanctuary and made arrangements with them to bring Lucky to their facility.

We drove for what seemed a long time, out in the middle of nowhere, until finally, Mr. Cottage said he thought he heard the banjo’s playing the theme from Deliverance.



 We laughed, but it really was the most beautiful off the beaten path, drive.  We eventually came to the sign pointing to our destination.  My heart began to beat fast and I wanted to back the car up and flee.  As we got out of the car we were immediately greeted by a young man.  We went inside, answered some polite questions and then I was given the paperwork to complete.  It all happened in a blink of an eye.  Lucky was whisked away to a room where he was weighed and measured and an identification mark was placed on his leg.  I really didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, which in hindsight, I think was a good thing so that I didn’t get all emotional and start blathering.  He was immediately taken away to the duck compound.  I wanted to go along like a mother attending her child’s first day at preschool – just to make sure all the other kids played nice with my little Lucky.  No outsiders allowed, they want the wild animals to have as little human contact as possible.  I stood on the porch taking photos as the young man took away our little Lucky.






Dotted along the hillside, under the shade of trees, tucked inside charming gardens of native plants, are several structures that house the different types of wildlife.



This is the duck compound.  I don’t remember how many other wood ducks they said they had at that time.  One of the reasons I choose this place to take Lucky was that they had several ducks his age that were ready to be released.  They decided to wait on the release for a week so that Lucky could get socialized with this group.


I was told Lucky was in good health and they felt we had done a very good job taking care of him.  He would be taken to the river with the other ducks and released in a week.  That time has since come and gone.  I think of him every day and wonder where he is.  Does he have a new family and is he healthy and happy?  I have no regrets about taking care of him or taking him to Rockfish Sanctuary for his release back into the wild.  It was the right thing to do.




Maybe someday we will see him again.



Well, that’s all for today.  Thank you for being here.



9 thoughts on “lucky – a bittersweet goodbye

  1. Lyn says:

    Dear Kim, what an adventure with Lucky Duck. I know the feeling with my robin. They just seem to be part of your life and then Wehave to do the inevitable duty. Oh so hard but he may wonder back into your lives as they never forget where they were born and loved. God Bless you
    Virginia . What a terrible ordeal to have happened.its such a lovely town and such History that we treasure.
    I am ever hopeful.


  2. says:

    You did good, Kimmie.


  3. Debra says:

    I didn’t tell you what a sweet thing my husband did for me. The first Christmas after we released DuckDuck, I got a tiny package-it was tied to the Christmas tree. It was a letter from DuckDuck. Of course my hubby wrote it-but I cried like a baby….I got a letter every Christmas after that. The most wonderful one was the letter I got right after my brain surgery. It told how she (the duck) had flown around the hospital and sat by my window. You can bet I have those letters in a box, safe for years to come…..Love hurts sometimes, but it’s always worth it. BTW, we also had a robin, and that was just as hard. It made it harder that she really didn’t want to leave us! I raised her with consultation from a re-habber, sometimes I’d be on the phone every day asking what I should do. Truly, it is a gift to have those wonderful birds so close in our lives, especially when we have saved them!


  4. Pam Kaufman says:

    As sad as it is you did the right thing for Lucky. He is with his flock now. It hurts because you are a loving, caring person which is a wonderful thing especially these days. God bless you.


  5. Lisa Meyer says:

    I understand – it is hard to see them leave the nest – or the living room :). That is why very few of my “fosters” ever end up leaving. I’m not good at goodbyes. Lots of love to you this week.


  6. DA Squires says:

    I found myself sighing deeply as I read your post… what happened is so terribly sad for your community, and tragically, it will be repeated elsewhere. I have been a fairly optimistic person most of my life, but that outlook is being tested every single day.

    Your darling Lucky is alive and thriving in his natural environment because of the love and care he found at Red Dirt Farm. I don’t think here is a better word than ‘bittersweet’ to describe what happens when the heart and the mind pull in different directions. Yet, looking at the young people working to rehabilitate wildlife (and especially birds : ) and the wonderful facility you found, allowed this sweet chapter to close with a sense of hopefulness and quiet happiness… that life continued as it was intended to be…
    Lucky returned home.


  7. Karen K says:

    The comments before this have all said it so well – very bittersweet. I loved that little guy so much!! The pictures of how little he was and then at the end are proof of the wonderful care you gave him. I personally think Rockfish should have made an allowance for you – to at least see him enter the enclosure with his new buddies – I really have a beef with this – one little look is not going to risk their wildness!! I am sure his departure is weighing heavy on your heart with everything else going on! Karen


  8. Sarah says:

    It must have been so sad to say goodbye to Lucky. He was however so Lucky to have been given such a good start with all the love and care you gave him. Can’t they let you know of his progress? Sarah x


  9. Barbra Joan says:

    I could have written this exact post about 10 years ago when I took a deserted day old mocking bird and for 8 -10 weeks cared for him, fed him and all the things you did right up to teaching him to fly. Peeper was his name. And I finally brought him to the Wild Bird Sanctuary and like you they took him, and when he was put in with another , he just slowly inched his way to the other side. I knew then that I had done the right thing, he needed to be with his own. Learn to be a mocking bird.
    I just found you and will come back..


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