An 11 duckling rescue mission.
Despite being in lockdown the weather last weekend was too good to pass up, I grabbed a book and decided to sit out in the garden with a glass of pink gin and lemonade. I live in a house with 4 flats, 1 of which is currently unoccupied, so we have a front and back communal garden that we can take advantage of and still be socially distant.
I was beckoned over by my neighbours to the corner of the garden where they hold a small vegetable patch. As I was walking over I noticed some scurrying within the patch then all of a sudden a small duckling fell 10ft from the laylandii above. My neighbour told me she had been in the garden when all of a sudden the mother duck fell from the tree and the other 11 babies followed. One even fell on her head! This wasn’t the first time this happened either, she informed me this had happened every summer for the past 3 years! I have a feeling that a neighbour owns a pond and the mother leaves the nearby park to nest then gets lost finding her way home!
THE RESCUE MISSION BEGINS!
We were very cautious trying to round up the ducklings, they escaped the patch twice but found their way back in and then we blocked them into there whilst we prepared transport. Due to my neighbours being very vunerable to the current co-vid situation I offered to take the ducklings to the park and was lucky they had experience with this situation.
They prepared their dog cage and a bucket as in previous years putting the ducklings in the cage allowed them to squeeze through the gaps and escape whilst in the car. The plan was simple, wear gloves so we do not scent them so they are not disowned, put the mother in the dog cage then the ducklings in the bucket so they cannot escape, then put them in the cage with the mother duck, drive them to the pond and release them. Simple. Right?
Simple in thought. As soon as we’d got the mother into the cage the babies had no one to follow, they all started running everywhere and managed to get out of the patch. Good thing I thought to count them before as I had to run across the garden to get to the one behind the shed! Four of us managed to wrangle them all and reunite them with their mother.
Then came the transfer to the pond. I was so worried the bucket would tip over in the car so was driving as gently as I possibly could, especially as I had multiple speedbumps to manouveur.
Releasing them had to be quick so that none were left behind. The pond they now live in is very populated and it did cross my mind that it may cause some issues. One male duck tried to fight the mother as soon as we released them but she fought back, defended her ducklings and they all swam away to their forever home.
It certainly wasn’t how I was expecting to spend the majority of my day but it was a welcome change in lockdown. How are you coping with lockdown? Let me know your bizarre encounters in the comments!