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Make way for the ducklings!

Spring is finally here and with it comes the miracle of new life in all its splendour!

 

As our emergency response service starts to get inundated with calls about baby birds, ducklings and cygnets, we get to see some amazing stories of loving and caring members of our community interacting positively with our native wildlife.

 

Anne Simson, a wildlife lover, was kind enough to share her experiences with ducklings this year. She was lucky to have ducklings hatch in her balcony twice and was able to escort the duck family safely to water, faring through the urban hurdles like roads and traffic and other animals and pets.

 

Below are the beautiful stories in her own words:

 

Duck family

“I am so delighted to let you know that yesterday a beautiful wild black mother duck successfully hatched all of her 10 eggs on our balcony. 

 

This morning at 7.30am they left our balcony 3 floors up amidst lots of chirping and all landed safely on the cement below.  From there my husband and I played sheep dogs again and successfully navigated people, dogs, cars and trams to get them all safely to the Fitzroy Gardens. 

 

The ducklings were all perfect, and all strong and managed the walk amazingly well. We had people oohing and arring all along our journey to Fitzroy Gardens. Comments like ‘what a wonderful thing to see first thing on a Wednesday morning’‘can I give you my card and can you email me a photo so I can send to my kids so that they know things like this can happen in East Melbourne’ ‘nature is amazing’ etc. While we had hoped that our beautiful mother duck would not attempt her relocation during peak hour, she did have a mind of her own and once the move was on, it was on and nothing could stop it. We were very impressed at how the peak hour traffic, both pedestrian and cars, obeyed our requests and hand signs and stopped to allow this little family to make it to their new home. Even crossing four lanes and two tram tracks at peak hour could be achieved.

 

The only negative was that once we arrived at the smaller pond behind Captain Cook’s cottage, a nasty black crow came and hung around. I chased the crow away several times and stayed with the duck family for a little while until I was sure they had recovered from the journey and could hopefully hide from the crow. When I left, there were quite a few people taking photos of the little family and enjoying the special scene with all the little ducklings  hizzing around like windup toys.

 

So I should have had no concern that the weather was too cold for ducklings. Nature is a marvel.

 

I look forward to mother duck returning to our balcony – perhaps she will come in December.  In the meantime I will leave her nest undisturbed.  I will miss her beautiful face when I open the curtains every morning but do look forward to seeing that same face again in the future.”

 

Anne had also shared with us a similar experience six monthago: 

 

eggs

“Lady Duck provided us with much excitement and merriment over New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  Mid-afternoon I checked Lady Duck (as I had been several times a day) only to find her sitting in what looked like a very uncomfortable position because under her I could just see the first little duckling had hatched.  During the next couple of hours, 5 others hatched to make a clutch of 6.  They survived the very loud New Year’s Eve fireworks just 100 metres away but must have wondered why their new world was painfully loud. 

 

New Year’s Day morning had us consulting Google on what happens after ducklings have hatched.  What we found was that they needed to be in water within 72 hours.  The weather forecast for January 2 was 40 degrees so we knew we had to move very quickly if these ducklings were to survive.  As we were trying to work out how we could relocate the duck family we heard a great deal of squeaking going on and when we looked out onto the balcony we saw Lady Duck had left and all the little ducklings were madly running hither and thither squeaking and calling for their Mum.  I assumed Lady Duck had gone off to feed and had left the ducklings in the next with strict instructions not to leave the nest. I admonished Lady Duck in absentia for thinking she could leave the ducklings and that they would adhere to her instructions.  I also admonished the ducklings for not doing as their mother told them to. Stuart decided we needed to quickly collect the ducklings before they fell over the balcony.  Before we could even think of what sort of box we needed for this, I watched as one squeaking duckling just fell over the edge of the balcony.  I was devastated but there was nothing I could do.  I left the apartment immediately and headed outside to find the poor 

crossing roadlittle duckling’s remains.  When I got outside my heart soared as there was Lady Duck on the pavement. In a terrifying series of leaps, the ducklings jumped one by one from our balcony to join their mother who was calling them from the street below. Unbelievably they all survived although there was one that was weaker than the others. 

 

Stuart and I then spent 30 minutes walking with them and protecting them from cars, dogs and trams, crossing several roads, going through a tunnel, over the tram tracks on Bridge Road until we finally got them to a beautiful pond in the Fitzroy Gardens – just behind Captain Cook’s historic cottage. Interestingly as soon as we were within 50 metres of water, Lady Duck started to run and the ducklings ran also.  We suspect she must have been able to smell the water.  I had to pick up the little weak one and carry it because it just couldn't sustain the walk so I was worried Lady Duck would reject this duckling but she didn't. They are now happy in their new home in the bull rushes and lily pads on the side of the beautiful pond and are taking frequent swims.  They couldn’t have a more beautiful home. We have formal visiting rights and I have already visited them twice and all the ducklings have survived so far including the weak one, they are feeding madly and exploring their exciting new environment.  Lady Duck is continuing to be a great Mum. What a wonderful way to start the year.  Nature is magnificent.”

 

Thank you so much Anne for the love and concern that you have for our wildlife! Such support from the community is what keeps us going.