BIRD WATCH: When ducks are in trouble, men come to the rescue

BABY DUCKLINGS ARE very small.

Their fluffy feathers are misleading and cover up the truth that a miniature creation is beneath them.

Add this to the fact that these tiny tots are precocious and you have a recipe for trouble.

A reader found this out in a most interesting way.

Frank’s story follows in his own words:

“Last Sunday, I noticed a momma duck and two ducklings on the side walk.

“Momma was going in circles, jumping off the curb and onto the road, then jumping back up to the sidewalk.

“She did this over and over.

“I thought she might be trying to encourage the ducklings to follow her.

“One did and the other went to the curb’s edge, turned around, sat down and would not move.

“That one, as it turned out, was smart.

“I then looked for the one that did jump and it had disappeared.

“Momma kept up with her circling, jumping up and off the curb.

“I went out to see what was happening.

“The duckling that jumped went through the storm grate to the sewer below.

“I looked through the drain gate and saw the duckling swimming below.

“I called the police and they patched me through to some animal group.

“They, in turn, gave me the Fish and Wildlife office, but no one was there. No help.

“I went to my neighbor, Monte, for help.

“He got a pry bar and lifted off the grate in the road.

“I got a fishing net.

“In short, Monte pulled out about 10 little ducklings, apparently none the worse for the experience.

“Then they noisily found their way to Momma standing about 15 feet away.

“Momma stayed around until the last duckling was rescued.

“She must know how to count.”

I love happy endings.

Frank and Monte are definitely heroes and thanks to their persistence and ingenuity this story did have a happy ending.

Baby mallards and storm drains make the news from time to time.

Not everyone could have rescued these ducklings.

Frank called the right people but these situations often occur after hours or on a holiday when you can’t get a live person.

Frank’s email addressed this at the end of the story.

“Where can we go for a rescue group for fast help in situations like this?

“Without Monte’s help and pry bar those little ducklings might have been lost forever when the rains came.”

There are rescue groups throughout the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.

They’re easy to find on the internet but as this incident took place in Sequim, I promised to get Frank another number to call.

When it comes to bird-related situations and events on the Olympic Peninsula, my go-to friend is Bob Boekelheide.

As the former director for the Dungeness River Audubon Center, he’s a wealth of information.

He told me the rehab center in Sequim is the Northwest Raptor Center.

Their phone number is 360-681-2283.

More information on this group is available on their website at nwraptorcenter.com.

Boekelheide advises that they usually don’t answer the phone but if you leave a message, they will get back to you.

Mallard ducklings are notorious for getting into trouble and their mothers have their work cut out for them as soon as they hatch.

She will gather the clutch together and head for the nearest fresh water.

The hazards along the way are endless and “duck crossing” signs would be appropriate in countless places.

A mother duck toddling down the road, across it or on the sidewalk is leading newly hatched, inexperienced pedestrians and a little help along the way will make everyone feel good.

________

Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: [email protected]

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