In the spring of 2018 I got my first duckling rescue of the year. The caller said one of the ducklings was very lame and struggling to keep up with its siblings. Duckling rescues are never straightforward so on the way I picked up my friend and fellow rescuer, Nicci, to give me a helping hand. The pond was hidden behind some houses, was tiny and on private land. I felt a little more optimistic but suddenly I saw the poor duck being attacked by two amorous drakes. The lady that had called me said their chasing was relentless. Lesser ducks would have flown off and abandoned the ducklings but this beautiful duck stuck close to her babies.
Any chasing of the ducklings, to catch the injured one, could spook mum resulting in her flying – and she also had to contend with her two admirers chasing her! The plan was for Nicci to get in the pond and target the duckling with the limp, separate it from the others, to enable me to net it. As it happened, when Nicci entered the water the duck got out, quickly followed by her ducklings. I was able to identify the one with a limp – in fact it was a fractured leg – and quickly netted it – the job was done!
We were hugely relieved that not only had we caught the injured duckling but that it had been done with minimum disruption. I was not hopeful for the other ducklings as I thought the mum would eventually abandon them due to the two drakes. However, the lady that called me continued to send updates and against all odds the entire brood of ducklings fledged.
In 2019 the duck returned, this time there was only one drake with her so he had obviously seen off his rival! Again, all the ducklings survived. The residents had made a duck house and did as much as possible to make it a good environment for the duck family. It was wonderful to continue to receive updates and last week the duck returned. Slightly earlier than in previous years so there was a rush to get the duck house ready for the class of 2020. I look forward to receiving updates.
When everything about rescuing seems stressful and difficult and you feel like there are barriers whichever way you turn it’s these type of stories that make it all worthwhile.