Nine newborn ducklings have been reunited with their mama duck after a narrow escape from a stormwater drain, all thanks to the efforts of three local kids.
Jacoba Smith, 12, her brother Kooper, 13, and their neighbor, Anders Gellè, 12, were walking home from the school bus last week in the Trossachs neighborhood. They heard a “peeping” sound coming from a grate in the street, and looked inside to see several ducklings down inside.
Worried about the babies, they quickly called 911 and were routed to animal control, then the city operations department.
“I got a call from one of the young kids in a panic,” said Charlie Simpson, operations manager for Sammamish.
“I said, ‘Is the mama duck with them?’ They said ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Are they near a pond?’ They said ‘Yes.’”
So, Simpson asked them to wait a while to see whether the mama could lead the ducklings back to the pond.
“They called back in a panic, saying they still couldn’t get the ducklings out,” he said.
Also, while the kids were busy making calls, several more ducklings had fallen through the grate and gotten stuck.
Simpson and a coworker headed out to help. Before they could arrive, the kids were able to use a long-handled net to carefully reach down into the grate and rescue the ducklings.
“We were all kind of freaking out,” Jacoba said. “We got them all out in like 10 minutes.”
She, Kooper and Anders carefully put the ducklings into a box with high sides, then tried to catch the mama duck.
“Of course the mama duck was just going bonkers, walking up to the box,” Simpson said.
He suggested that they take the box closer to the nearby retention pond, letting the mama duck hear the babies “peep.”
“The mama duck was right on them. She was not going to let the baby ducks out of her sight. She followed them all the way down to the pond, and they were able to let them out and the mama duck was happy as a clam at high tide,” Simpson said. “I thought these kids were very persistent. I think they deserve a pat on the back.”
Anders’ mother, Tanya Luth Gellè, agreed.
“We were really proud,” Luth Gellè said. “They all found a good solution to the problem.”