Why did the (45) ducklings cross the road?

Reader Ken called my attention to this site, which includes the video below. The site doesn’t say much except that we see 45 ducklings crossing a five-lane road in Maine, and all the drivers stop to let them cross. Mainers are an amiable bunch, and so that’s completely in character, but 45 ducklings? What’s that about? From one mom? No mallard hen in the world can produce that many offspring in one clutch!

The story from the NBC News Center in Maine:

Alfred Road in Biddeford had quite the traffic standstill around 8 a.m. Wednesday, but this wasn’t due to summertime construction.

A mother duck was guiding her 45 ducklings across the five-lane road, and Karen Ramunno of Biddeford captured it all on video.

In two waves, the supermom guides 22 little ones from the yellow fire hydrant outside All Smiles Dental across Route 111 toward the pond near Southern Maine Health Care. Another 23 follow, including two stragglers.

The two-minute journey stopped two lanes of drivers in both directions, yet all the drivers, presumably on morning commutes, patiently took the moment in.

“Proof that there are more good people in this world than bad!” Ramunno wrote. “Not one person in the two lines of traffic were beeping or impatient with these guys! Even the last two stragglers!”

Good news — the two stragglers made it across safely, Ramunno said.

Well, it’s great that everyone stopped—a real heartwarmer. But it proves only that there are more good people than bad people in Biddeford, Maine. And I still wonder who produced those 45 ducklings, which are teenagers. Oh, and I hope they made it to a nice body of water.

I’ll add my own duck report: we have fourteen ducks left: Daphne and her nine offspring (who can’t yet fly), Anna and one of her offspring (we think), and Katie and one of her offspring (we think). We’re set to have nearly a perfect fledging rate this year.



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 9, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Kinda reminds me of the ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis who march from the pond in the lobby at happy hour every day to take the elevator back up to their penthouse on the roof.

  2. Posted August 9, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    “Why did the (45) ducklings cross the road?”

    I’m guessing it’s because the crossing happened to occur on the 50th anniversary of the famous “Abbey Road” album. Those ducklings are big Beatle fans (who isn’t?), and are re-enacting the famous photo.

  3. Liz
    Posted August 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    To get to the other helter skelter.

  4. rickflick
    Posted August 9, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I feel sorry for anyone in their car who really had to “go”.

  5. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 9, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    It is probably a crèche, a group of ducklings from several mothers being tended by one experienced mother. Googling “duck crèche” will find some examples. There was a famous one last year with 76 ducklings, also in Maine. The merganser ducks in particular seem to do this.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 9, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      I had not heard of the term “crèche” except in the case of Jesus Christ’s birth. Thanks. It’s a welcome alternative.

    • eric
      Posted August 9, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      You might say that the duck mothers are showing the same sort of cooperation with non-relations that the human car drivers are showing… 🙂

  6. Posted August 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    To prove to the opossum that it is possible.

  7. Posted August 12, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing that heartwarming story Jerry, and kudos to the good people of Biddeford, Maine – especially the drivers in the lead cars.

    We had 18 Black-bellied Whistling ducks jump from a box on Sat. morning, and when we checked the box late in the afternoon to see if any other eggs had hatched or if anyone had been left behind, there were FIVE more babies in the corner looking out when Jim opened the box, one had just hatched. We think there must have been multiple ducks laying eggs in the box for there to be that many – perhaps that also happened in the case of the 45 ducklings. I rushed the 5 to the local rehabber and as of yesterday afternoon all were doing fine.

    Yesterday afternoon Jim looked out and yelled “BABY DUCKS!” When I looked through the scope I was shocked to see nine six-week old Black-bellied Whistling ducklings that we had no knowledge of. I got video of the family keeping a close eye on our 12′ bull gator on “gator island” close by.

    I’ve never seen a mother adopt a duckling, but we had eight Wood Ducklings this summer who somehow lost their mother when they were only about four weeks old (with four more weeks to go before they could fly), and seven somehow managed to raise themselves. Around the same time two slightly younger ducklings lost their mother, and when one of them was lost the group of seven adopted the lone orphan, and I watched them all grow to fledging. I don’t know if the mothers abandoned their ducklings or if something happened to them.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      So much drama! They are an intriguing lot.

  8. Andrea Kenner
    Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I love the two little stragglers!

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