Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rescue



As I was driving home from my art class on Tuesday night around nine-thirty, I noticed an odd lump in the gutter of our street. As I drove closer, a head popped up - a Mallard head! A female Mallard and a whole brood of ducklings were huddled in the gutter a couple houses down my street. Streets generally aren't good places for duck families, since they are sitting ducks (no pun intended) for coyotes, house cats, and crazy drivers. I pulled into our driveway and enlisted the help of my mom and brother for a rescue mission. We quickly walked down the street, armed with flashlights and a cat carrier.

The plan was simple: round up the ducklings, toss them into the carrier, and then transport them into the garage where they would spend the night safe from predators. I've heard of other people transporting ducklings and having the female follow them, so I figured she'd stroll right into the garage after us.

It took only a few minutes to catch all the ducklings - nine of them. The fuzzy little devils could scramble around very swiftly, but we were faster. We loaded them up in the cat carrier and moved them to the garage. The female followed, waddling around and nervously quacking.

Ducks apparently are not accustomed to being shut up in a garage, as it took a few minutes for the female to settle down. The ducklings all clustered around their mother and the family huddled in a clump for the night. We turned off the lights and bade them goodnight.

Our cat usually sleeps in the garage, so we had to find a spot for him to spend the night. I let him spend the night in my room. This was a mistake. He is apparently only capable of sleeping for a couple hours at a time, since he occasionally would walk around, meow, and knock stuff off my desk. Needless to say, I will never let him sleep in my room again.

In the morning I woke up bright and early, opened the garage door, and shooed the ducks out. They waddled into the yard and disappeared while I went inside to eat breakfast. Later we saw a female Mallard with three ducklings on the lake. It's entirely possible this was the same family, grossly reduced in size by various predators, but we'll never know. At least we could provide the ducklings a safe haven their first night.

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