Thursday, 13 May 2010

Duck Rescue 2009

A long long time ago (ok it was last year), when I didn’t work in a windowless hell I used to look out of my office window into Queens Gardens. In particular I looked out on to this expanse of water.

I run into difficulties here. What to call this? It’s clearly too big to be a pond and yet I feel calling it a ‘lake’ is perhaps exaggerating its true qualities, that of a stagnant pool most likely littered with beer bottles. For the purposes of this story, let’s call it a lake, but rest assured I do not have delusions of grandeur.

I walk past this lake on the way in and out of work and one spring morning I was beyond myself with delight to see 5 little ducklings swimming about the water. Who doesn’t turn into a babbling moron when they see those little black and yellow balls of fluff? They were swimming about cheeping to themselves and I stood and watched them for a while until I realised what was wrong with the picture.

No Mummy and Daddy duck.

They were all alone (cue sad faces and cries of “Awwww”).

I wasn’t sure what to do and I thought that maybe their Mum was just somewhere I couldn’t see and took myself into work.

All morning I kept turning round to look out of my window.

“They’re still on their own.” I kept saying. “I can’t just leave them there.”

At 10.30am I made the highest sacrifice possible. I decided I would take my bread outside. My bread destined to be my mid-morning toast, and try and throw it to them. But they were so tiny they hadn’t been told that it was ok to eat bread from passersby.

(Disclaimer. I know that you shouldn’t feed ducks bread. But everyone else does and I didn’t have any grubs to hand.)

A park attendant man happened to be walking past. So I pointed them out to him and asked him what I should do. He informed me that the mother was dead on the other side of the lake, amongst the reeds. He didn’t seem too perturbed, I think he was a survival of the fittest kind of bloke. He said they’d probably get killed by other ducks and shrugged his shoulders and walked off.

Well Darwin didn’t have the RSPCA around did he?

Back to the office I went to phone the RSPB, who told me I should phone the RSPCA. So I rang, they even had a number for you to press if you were calling about birds or ducks, that made me laugh. I spoke to a very nice man and told him about the poor orphaned ducklings.

I spent the rest of the morning with a crick in my neck, trying to look at my computer and simultaneously keep an eye on my babies. I worried for them, there’s a big 6th form college across the road and I didn’t want the rowdy youngsters scaring them.

Then my mobile rang. It was a lovely RSPCA lady who was coming to rescue my ducks!
Except she didn’t know where I was or how to get to me (She wasn’t from Hull.) and after a lot of talking and some probably very poor direction giving from me (I don’t drive! It’s not my fault!) she appeared by the lake and I was, naturally, there to greet her. Work was clearly a lost cause that day.

She appeared with a net on long stick. “Yeah that’s not going to work” I told her. “They’re really jittery they won’t come near you.”

But she tried nonetheless.

And it didn’t work.

She resorted to calling the landscape company that looks after the city centre parks and gardens because they would have waders.

Half an hour later and there’s landscape man in waders, net on long stick in hand, most probably cursing the day I was born, striding around the lake trying to catch some rather agile ducklings whilst I, the RSPCA lady and several of his colleagues shouted/laughed encouragingly from the sidelines. My favourite bit was when they all decided to huddle by the little fountain that comes out of the wall, forcing the landscape man to just get wet. Second to that was the bit where he tripped up (probably on said beer bottles) and fell his full length.

Eventually all little babies were safely captured in a cardboard box and ready to be taken to their new home.

I could finally rest easy, knowing that I had done my bit and kept my ducklings safe. Survival of the fittest my arse. And better yet? I’d managed to waste half a day at work on my duck drama.

So that is why I take such an interest in these babies, (although really not as cute as Mallard babies but don’t hold that against them. Look at their freakishly large feet!) and every morning and every evening I check and make sure that they’re all well and Mummy or Daddy is there supervising. I don’t want to have to mount Duck Rescue 2010...

...but someone who did mount a Duck Rescue 2010 is Foods and crafts; fuel for body and soul who has posted her story HERE

Anyone else have any Duck Dramas they would like to share?!


Heather said...

YAY go you! How awesome that you rescued the ducks! :D
Btw, Andy thinks you are cool as well and now he is reading your blog post because he loves ducks too. :) just so's you know.

Jill said...

I've got a real soft spot for ducks (my surname used to be Duckworth - and before you start, I've heard all the Vera, Jack, Terry, Quackers, Quackworth jokes before).

When I was very newly married (OMG - that's just years ago, in the last century even), we used to take our dog a walk around some small lakes. One very early, Winters morn, we spotted a swan frozen in the lake. Well we couldn't possibly just leave it there, go on merry way and leave it stuck there could we? Oh no. So we scrambled down a very muddy bank, through some very prickly trees (the ones that would take your eye out sooner than look at you, you know the ones), and climbed over some evil chicken wire fencing, only to discover, that all our swearing and cursing on getting through all of natures obsticles (apart from the fencing of course)had scared the blessed swan half to death. He/She had wriggled so much to get away from any rescue attempt we had up our sleeves, it'd broken the ice and was attempting to fly off. Needless to say, I was very relieved that the swan was OK. Our dog had had a great time, even if my (then) husband, me and the swan hadn't.

P said...

You are awesome. I want to meet you. Why are you not coming to the edinburgh meet up??? :( said...

Oh dear ! Yes I do have a duck story... but you wouldn't like it at all! It involves my ex husband, and generally everything which includes him is usually not good! I loved your story though, and you are right and thank you for pointing them out... they really are freakishly large feet! suzie xxx

Ana said...

Ducklings are sooo cute. If I ever (ever! ha!) live in a house with a really big garden, I'd love to keep some, but apparently they make a real mess of the pond. By the way, not sure whether that second-to-last photo is a coot or a moorhen, but the bottom one is a moorhen.

Anonymous said...

Your story was so much more dramatic than mine! I'm sure there are lots more duck rescues going on out there :)

The Curious Cat said...

awww what a lovely story with a happy ending! So glad to hear you did something about it! I hope the ducks grew up big and strong! So so sweet! xxx

Tabiboo said...

No duck dramas here I'm afraid though well done you missus and at least you didn't get wet.

Nina x

Em said...

Aaaw thats such a lovely story and a good skive too!!
Em xx

Taz said...

Ok from now on you are no longer The Girl but will be know as That There Girl Who Rescues Babby Ducks :)

Trish said...

Gosh....such a wonderful 'story' of rescue. No duck stories here but a mother robin rescue story....rescued from a neighbourhood cat....whom I rushed to the local vet...only to have her chirp her last little chirp in my car before passing away on the vet's parking lot. Oh you got me sad again...But your story was of cheer and good fortune. Good on you!

jane said...

Such a lovely story to read on a Monday morning - what a great happy ending. I can't believe the park man said that though, he shouldn't be allowed to do that job!
I've never had any duck drama but will be on the lookout henceforth...

Diane said...

Very funny! I knew it would be. xxx