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Posted on June 7, 2017 at 10:12 AM by Beth Shumate
In a world where bad news seems to bombard us all day long, it’s always nice when we can share a little feel-good news and watch it go somewhat viral. Thanks to our fans and their friends, the following little happy story was shared across Facebook and elsewhere online throughout the past couple days:
On Monday morning shortly after opening the MCVB Visitors Center, our staff noticed two other downtown employees standing across Virginia from our office where they were looking down into the storm drain. Then we noticed a brown duck and a cluster of gray, brown and yellow fluff on the sidewalk not too far from these women. As soon as we opened the front door, we could hear loud chirps echoing from just beneath the road.
When we got outside with a cardboard box, we talked with these other women to devise a plan of action. Belinda from the MPAC staff called the Streets Department while a CVB staffer left a message for Animal Control. Waiting for the “duck rescue” to arrive, we worked together to keep the ducks corralled onto the sidewalk and in the grassy area between the building and parking lot, and out of traffic.
Streets Department personnel arrived in a few minutes and went to work getting the manhole cover removed and beginning the rescue. It was so heartwarming to see these four men working to get the two tiny ducklings out of the storm drain and then placing them into the box. I leaned the box over slightly in an effort to show the mama duck her babies and to hopefully get her into the box – okay, so it was a nice idea but didn’t quite play out as I had hoped – the two rescued ducklings hopped out of the box and scrambled back to be near their mama. In the blink of an eye, the whole brood took off south on Wood Street (alley), waddling around the corner and taking refuge among some air conditioning units.
We all worked together to round up the 11 ducklings back into the box so we could turn our focus on capturing Mama who now wanted nothing more but to be back with her loudly chirping babies.
Just as the Streets Department truck pulled away, the Animal Control truck arrived to take its place. The Animal Control guy came over to meet us, a big net in hand, and for the next 20 minutes or so, the five of us worked together, moving the box of ducklings around in the hopes of getting Mama Duck in the right position so he could safely catch her. The Animal Control guy assembled a big cage in which he put a smaller cage holding the ducklings, hoping she’d go in to be with them. It turned out to be a little more complicated, as she wanted no part of that cage. We finally managed to chase Mama Duck toward the Animal Control guy so he could catch her, gently free her from the net and transfer her into a holding compartment in his truck. Then he reunited mama and babies by slipping the small cage of ducklings into the compartment with their mama before heading out to the Erwin Park area to release the little family
We want to thank these city and county personnel again for helping in this little unexpected Monday mission. Their patience and caring attention in working to reunite this sweet little family of ducks resulted in the birds being relocated from the downtown area’s traffic and bustle to a more natural habitat of open spaces near water.