Sewer Duckling (Duck)
When a call came into the Wisconsin Humane Society about baby ducklings down a drain with a distressed Mom Mallard calling to them from above the grate, we knew we had to act fast to be able to save the babies and keep this family together.
Hen Mallards often nest surprisingly far away from water. They do this to hide their nest from predators that like to hunt around shorelines. Once the eggs have all hatched, mom duck will lead her brood to water, usually a river or pond, sometimes as much as a mile away from her nest! In a suburban or urban environment, there are lots of obstacles the family can face once they have begun the journey to water. Sewer grates are one of them. While Mom can easily walk over the grate, her ducklings fall through the holes!
Sometimes mom duck may not realize she's lost a duckling down the grate, and keep on walking, but often times she does. When we get a call about a mother duck waiting by or on a grate, we have to act fast, while there’s there's still a good chance we can rescue the babies and reunite the family. No one is a better mother duck than a mother duck, so keeping the family together is very important.
When we arrived on the scene, luckily, Mom was still there.
She was waiting, dedicated to staying with her babies, no matter what, but she was visibly (and understandably) distressed. Her kids were in peril! We worked quickly to catch Mom (not an easy thing to do with a fully-flighted adult bird). Then we removed the lid to the drain (“oof!”), and worked diligently to scoop out each little peeping duckling. Once we had every duckling contained, we took Mom and her kids to a nearby creek, which was where they had been heading. Mom and babies were happily reunited, and swam off together. A happy ending for all!