Niagara Gazette — Kathleen Godwin was enjoying an unexpected Friday morning off at her Ransomville waterfront home when she glanced out the window and noticed what appeared to be duck, frozen in the packed, chunky ice on Lake Ontario.
“I was drinking coffee looking out at the lake,” she said. “We always check the ice in the morning and there was this bird — I thought it was a duck — and its head was lying on the ice. It looked so dead.
“My heart sank, imagining the struggle that the duck must have endured,” she added.
Then, around 3 p.m. strange shadows caught her eye. Outside her window, Godwin saw hundreds of small birds had gathered on the lawn.
“I quickly grabbed my cell-phone to take a picture when I noticed the frozen bird again. Only now I thought I saw it move. My fiancé grabbed the binoculars and affirmed that the bird was alive. It was, ‘slowly opening and closing its eyes,’ he said.”
Godwin knew that if nothing was done, the bird would surely die in the darkness of night, a few hours away.
Panicking, she picked up her phone and dialed the number for the Lockport SPCA, where she was directed to a local non-profit group called Wild Kritters. She looked up the group online and found the numbers for a number of volunteers.
After an hour and a half of trying to reach someone there, Godwin said she finally received a call back from Wild Kritters’ President, Kathleen Britton, who in turn called volunteer Bill Blake.
When Blake arrived on the scene, he was shown the location of the bird. At this point, the issue at hand was simple: How would he get across the ice to the bird without falling through?
First, he said, he had the idea to lay down a ladder extending over the bad ice to the bird, with someone standing on the end of the ladder on the shore to keep it stable.