I have taken so many pictures of ducks and baby ducks this year. They are pretty cute and we have many duck families living on our pond. But being a baby duck is hard. If you survive getting hatched, that is just the beginning.
Here is a nest in someone’s flower planter. A couple of the eggs did not develop and hatch. Probably some sibling took all the heat!
Those that did hatch…and just moments after…now have to make a three foot drop to the ground. And those guys are just little!
Then the duck families get to the pond. Safety now? Nope, now they are prey to our resident hawk. We actually lost 26 out of 30 in a matter of weeks this spring to the hawk family. Or they get run over crossing the road…we lost four in one day. But probably the biggest hazard of all is just following Mom. She walks across many places without thinking of the tiny critters following behind…like the grates of storm drains and window wells. One day Wally rescued the same ducky family twice from two different storm drains. Momma seemed to be trying to leave our pond system and head toward Cherry Creek. Three of the eight babies disappeared down the drains. Wally was able to get Mom and her five remaining duckettes into a box.
Awfully cute aren’t they? We took them over to Cherry Creek and released them under a bridge.
I would have thought that by the time July rolled around, hatchings would have have been over. Then a new family appeared. They seemed to be keeping pretty close to a certain area on the pond and Mom was kind of protective. And so were many of the residents. I think the feeling was that everyone wanted to see some survive!
There they go,”pit pat, paddle pat! pit, pat, waddle pat!” for the Beatrix Potter fans!
Then one night we received a report that some baby ducks had fallen through the grate on the street. So, Rescue Rangers Wally and Sherry responded! We arrived to find Momma Duck pretty upset and keeping a vigil up top. It was kind of pathetic, Mom calling to the babies who were loudly crying back!
Wally removed the grate and the babies quickly disappeared into the drain. Momma flew to a nearby rooftop. We could hear the babies from the drain calling desperately for Mom. We moved back and waited a few minutes and sure enough, Mom came back calling to them. The three emerged back out of the drain and thankfully this time they moved to the opposite side. I slipped a cardboard over the hole so they could not run back into it, while Wally climbed down in the man hole and scooped the three little babies into a bucket!
We released them on the pond and they quickly rejoined Mom!
Several of the neighbors came out to see the rescued family. We even had a phone call later that night from someone who wondered what had happened to the ducks! Well, hopefully they can grow up to be big ducks. You know life just isn’t always quacked up to what it should be! (A bit of duck humor there!)