What I did this morning

June 16, 2023 • 11:00 am

So much for hoping for a duckling-rescue-free summer! I was writing peacefully in my office when Jessica Morgan, a grad student in biology who knew of me as the “duck rescuer” called me on my cellphone. She’d spotted a mother and eight ducklings wandering around aimlessly by the physics building, not knowing where to go. There was no way they could make it the 1.5-2 miles to water, and they were headed in the wrong direction anyway.

I had to make the hard decision and rescue the brood, which I did with the help of two people.  Of course the babies were spooked, the mother quacked frantically as I netted the fast little buggers, and after that I put them is a towel-lined box.  They’re now in rehab, with food and water, headed for Willowbrook Wildlife Sanctuary this weekend.

Yes, we got all of them, and they all look healthy. Poor mom.

Now the mom is freaked, the babies are freaked, and I’m in tears. The only consolation is that I know that all these little ones will live. Thanks to Jessica and Marie Schilling of Team Duck for their help!

Box o’ ducks:

22 thoughts on “What I did this morning

  1. OK, I plead total ignorance in such matters, but I have to know. You indicated that water was 1.5 to 2 miles from where you rescued them. Could you not have released them there along with Mom? I suspect that capturing her would not have been easy, or even possible. Might she have followed you & her ducklings? Please school me. (In any case, I’m still impressed & heartened by your deed.)

    1. No, it’s impossible to capture mom. Believe me, I tried, even using a huge butterfly net. If I could have captured her, we would have taken the whole family to a good lake nearby and released them.

  2. Can the mom be captured and moved to the babies? It’s a Captain Obvious question, I know. But why not?

          1. Is it time for the Duck FAQ?

            (Get it – the onomatopoeia – quack – faq)

            Waders are top on my list!

  3. Great rescue. Shame you couldn’t keep the family together.

    How could they have gotten so far away from water in the first place?

    1. I think the “More ducks” post just answered my question: Mom must have nested near Botany Pond, unaware of current plans.

  4. The mother will live. Had you not rescued them, the ducklings wouldn’t.

    I never got the idea that the mother ducks even know how many babies she has following her. Saw one continue walking on after half the brood fell into water overflow grates and started chirping piteously. And another one who tried to find a water by walking through the drive-in lane of a White Castle at 10pm. (In the first case, babies were rescued, the second one, there was nothing they could do.)

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