Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ducklings Down the Drain

The St. Paul Pioneer Press ran a story on Friday about Shawn Schmidt in Eagan, Minn., who saw a distraught female mallard by the side of a road and discovered that 15 ducklings had gone down 3 nearby storm drains. See the full account of his successful rescue effort here. The story concludes:

Soon, the bucket was full with 15 baby ducks, and Schmidt was filthy.

"We had three people at all three sewer holes listening for more quacking to make sure there were no more down there," he said.

Schmidt brought the bucket to a grassy area near one of the ponds, about 30 feet from the crowd, and left it resting on its side, so the tiny birds could enter and leave at will.

Suddenly, a mallard appeared. It made a call, and out from the bucket marched about five ducklings. The family waddled away, mom at the helm.

Before long, a second mallard appeared, squawked, and out marched another five ducklings. They walked off together, too.

A third mallard arrived and retrieved the last of the young.

Satisfied, Schmidt jumped back in his car and drove home to take a steaming shower and congratulate himself on his good deed of the day.

I too congratulate Mr. Schmidt - way to go, sir!

It turns out that this is not an isolated occurrence. While searching to locate the online version of the article I discovered several similar accounts just in the past few week:

I'm sure there are plenty more; this is where I stopped following the Google links. Here is a video on YouTube (look in the Related Videos list for lots more).


The Ogden article notes how common reports of down-the-drain ducklings are:

The Ogden City Animal Shelter gets calls about ducks in storm drains all of the time, especially during the freak rainstorms this summer, said spokeswoman Casy Beesly. But she acknowledged that there are policy differences between domestic animals and wildlife. Puppies and kittens are a higher priority.

"We're short-staffed," Beesly said.

I expect plenty of such incidents go undiscovered, which is sad, but it's nice to know that people's kind instincts kick in when they see babies in trouble, whether human or avian.

1 comment:

Richard said...

A great story Penelope and thanks to those that helped our little featherd friends.