The guys were busy in the carport cutting planks for the renovations when they become distracted by a mother duck and her two fluffy little ducklings. They were running backwards and forwards under Colin’s car, looking cute as hell, but worrying the hell out of us in case one of the little ducklings should slip through the storm water drain under the car. Unfortunately, (or actually in this case, fortunately), one of the two did just that – plop and she was gone.
The hole is about a metre deep, and well cushioned with debris and soft sand. The little baby was cheeping away calling for mum, and mum was clearly very worried. Colin moved his car as we shepherded mum and the remaining bub away from danger. The guys had lifted the heavy grate in no time. Paul carefully jumped in but to his surprise there was not one, but seven fluffy little ducklings down the hole. No wonder mum had been running backwards and forwards under the car.
All but one had been rescued and re-united with mum. The remaining chick headed down one of the small offshoots of the drain. Mum promptly decided to lead her remaining seven babies to safety. Firstly she was heading towards Bussell Highway – not a good idea during the morning peak hour traffic.
I shepherded the family back to the scrub on the grassy verge hoping mum would stay near whilst we watched the drain hoping the remaining chick would find its way back to where it too could be rescued.
A few minutes later the traffic on both sides of the highway had stopped. Fortunately drivers keen to get to work weren’t in too much of rush to stop and watch a family of ducklings safely crossing the busy road. The little family reached safety on the other side, and continued on towards the wetlands. We still watched for the remaining chick, hoping she would return to be rescued.
I heard a few distant cheeps getting louder and louder. She peeked out but quickly shot back again. We gathered some thin cardboard to block off her escape route, hoping there would be another opportunity. There’s a maze of drains down there, and she could have headed off to who knows where. Clearly she remembered where mum last was though and out she came again. I patiently waited until she was well clear of the tunnels, before blocking it off. Paul again dropped down into the hole, and gently lifted and passed the last chick up to Colin, who placed it in a box we’d found for the purpose.
Paul set off with the frightened little baby safely boxed in his arms hoping to be able to track down its family. I’m pleased to say that about 15 minutes later he returned with an empty box. Mum and her babies had found the safety of nearby farmland. They weren’t keen on Paul approaching but he managed to get close enough to add the eighth duckling onto the end of the line and off they all went across the farm.
I hope they found the nearby wetlands without any more dramas. How fortunate the seventh duck disappeared down that drain before our very eyes. If it hadn’t I’m sure the other six would never have been discovered and rescued. A feel good start to our day that’ll have us softly smiling for the rest of the day I’m sure.