Duckling rescue!

Well, it’s not all peaches and cream tending the pond’s ducks, and now there are ducklings to worry about.

When I did my feeding of the male ducks this afternoon (there are two, including Frank), I heard a huge kerfuffle of squeaks and quacks from the main part of the pond. It turned out that two ducklings, which couldn’t have been more than a day old, had gotten into the middle, semi-dry concrete ring, and couldn’t get out, despite repeated leaps that wore them out. The mother was right beside them in the pond, quacking frantically.

The concrete ring is deep enough that, once the ducklings climb in from the water, the inside wall is too high for them to jump out again.

The mother wasn’t Honey, but she was distressed, as were her ducklings. There was only one thing I could do.

I rolled up my trousers, took off my shoes and socks, and, to the amusement of onlookers, waded into the pond to lift up the little fuzzballs and put them back with their mother. They were really happy, though tired, and stayed very close to her thereafter. By “close,” I don’t mean “swimming behind mom: I mean “swimming so close that you’re touching mom’s side.”

I’m sad that there are only two ducklings, and that the mom isn’t Honey, but there is still time for her to come back. Right now I have to get Physical Plant to add some sand or dirt to the concrete ring so the ducklings can get both in and out, and also have some shelter from predators. I’ll worry all evening that they’ll get into that ring again and exhaust themselves.

And I need a shower, for my legs and pants are wet and covered with mud. I now know how deep that pond is: mid-thigh at the deepest part.

It’s not easy being a duck-tender! Naturally, there are no photos.

24 Comments

  1. Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Well done on your rescue act – mother ducks often take justifiable fright at any member of another species getting remotely close to their babies. There are certain species of large gull which are well known for killing ducklings if they get the opportunity (I live in an area which is home to both ducks and gulls in considerable number)

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I applaud you PCC(E)

    Did anyone else? I imagine they thought you were nuts.

    • Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, they probably did. A guy took photographs, and I think he approved. Frankly, I don’t care what people think; I was going in.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        [ strong expression of agreement ]

      • dabertini
        Posted May 19, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Angry Catman to the rescue!

    • enl
      Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      They thought he was ducking quackers when he went in. But when they saw WHY he went in, they were all quacked up.

      And PCC didn’t even send a bill.

  3. Joseph O'Sullivan
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    You could have them build a wooden ramp for the ducklings. They put one in the reflecting pond in DC. A conservative congressman complained about it being a waste of money on twitter. He was mocked mercilessly. I mean what does the guy have against ducklings?

    • Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I can’t “have” them do anything, as I am not their boss. I have to make a polite request. And I did suggest a ramp; in fact, I suggested this several weeks ago. I must hope that the humane instincts of Physical Plant will get them to help me. After all, to the workmen it may just be some stupid ducks, but to that mother it’s her family!

      • Joseph O'Sullivan
        Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        You could try the local chapter of The Audubon Society. I worked at one of their local chapters. They might be able to help or put you in touch with one of their volunteers. We had lots of people who loved to help.

  4. Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! We are still awaiting Honey.

  5. Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Join the club… 😀

  6. davidintoronto
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Rather than just roll up his pants for this kindly rescue, Dr. C. should have changed into his Angry Cat Man™ costume.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Careful, boss, those ducklings might imprint on you and start following you around like a common Konrad Lorenz. 🙂

    • Posted May 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Nope, they were already imprinted on Mom and were scared of me, as they should be. I handled them only long enough to scoop them out of the ring and back into the pond.

  8. Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I would have expected nothing less of the cat, squirrel, and duck warden of UC!

  9. Frank Bath
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I so admire you. I worry for you too.

  10. ploubere
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    You have a good heart, Jerry.

  11. Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Good work PCC. You’re my hero.

    Last week a truck stopped in Seattle at a busy intersection. We were cursing him for making us miss the light, until he was able move and we saw he had stopped for a duck and her string of ducklings. Another hero.

  12. Dan McPeek
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    A new and wonderful sobriquet for our
    favorite professor: “Duck Tender”.

    I’ve heard of chicken tenders, but… 🙂

  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    No pictures? The bystanders have cell phones, you know…

  14. Christopher
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Surely I’m not the only one who read this with that Bonnie Tyler song playing in my head!

    “He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight…”

  15. Hempenstein
    Posted May 19, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Skip Physical Plant. Just take a piece of 2×4, or maybe better a fat-ish branch so it looks kinda natural, and put it inside the ring, lying on the edge. Then if they get in again they can walk up the ramp. Do it when it’s dark tonite and nobody’ll even see you.

    You’ll get to test the waders you’ve probably already acquired, too!

  16. Diane Garlick
    Posted May 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    Late to this post but so glad I didn’t miss it entirely. So heartwarming!


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