Friday, June 8, 2012

Duckling rescue!

After the field trip to the beach, Anthony had a couple of hours left at school, and I had some chores to do at home. I ran home and did them, and on my way back to school to pick him up I noticed a mama duck crossing our street with her four ducklings, and thought, "Oh, how cute!"

  Mama and 4 of her 9 ducklings

I thought I'd hang out for a minute and watch, and then I'd get on my way. But she was acting really weird, going in circles. She'd get over to the side of the street and then come back. And then go back and forth. Over and over. I figured she must be hungry or sick, so I pulled over and got out. I heard her squawk. And then I'd hear "peep peep peep".

Was that her ducklings?


"Peep! Peep! Peep!"

There was a catch basin in the street that she kept circling.

"Peep! Peep! Peep!"

I looked in the catch basin, waiting for the peeps again.

  The catch basin

And then I saw them. Two ducklings. Then two more.


I had no idea what to do. I figured the ducklings were done for. The mama duck surely wasn't going to hang around. She had four other babies to feed and try to keep alive. She stuck it out for some time. I did, too, but I also had my own duckling to pick up from school! Luckily, another neighborhood mom came over to take over while I ran off. When I got back, I called 911. Mom had left and the babies were still trapped. They referred me to Animal Control, but admitted, "You probably won't have any luck with them. Try Snohomish County Public Works. They can probably get the catch basin open for you." I called Animal Control, and couldn't get past an answering machine. It's been almost a week and no one has called back. I immediately reached someone at Public Works, however, and she dispatched some guys directly to us.

  Dramatic duckling rescue

Funny enough, James, one of the very helpful Public Works guys who came to the rescue, is a duck hunter. He had a duck call on his keychain. He used it to try to coax the ducklings out, but they were like, "Who the heck are you?!" I guess it works for ducks who are interested in mating, not baby ducks looking for their mom. The good news, though, is, like most hunters, James is quite the conservationist.

"I never kill hens, because if you do that, 8 to 10 ducklings die without a mom, and that doesn't make sense! Plus, the suffering..."

Anyway, after about an hour chasing the little guys back and forth between four catch basins, we captured five ducklings!


 They were fast little buggers, too! They tried escaping that box I had several times. Needless to say, these are pretty healthy ducks. At the end of the day, once we'd caught as many as we thought there were, a fellow from down the block, Herb, was driving by.

"What's going on? Duck rescue? Those must be the ducklings we've already rescued from our backyard, twice!"

Sheesh! The good news is he knew where they lived and offered to drive me and them over to the pond by our house. He and his wife, Donna, helped us release them into the pond. They live on the other side of the pond from us, in a slightly more secluded area. Once we got out and let the little guys go, they knew exactly where to go, and their four brothers and sisters instantly came out from behind the grass to greet them back home.

  Home free!

What an adventure!

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