Friday, May 8, 2020

Fluffy ducklings rescued just in time for Mother’s Day

By Cara Mitchell

It’s a mom’s worst nightmare. Your brood decided to go exploring along a busy highway and gets stuck in a storm drain. That’s what happened to one momma duck on Thursday along State Route 16 and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Teamwork between our Tacoma Narrows Bridge worker and
two State Patrol troopers led to a duckling rescue this week.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Bloomfield and Trooper Rogers noticed that a duck was repeatedly flying low in to traffic, risking being hit by passing vehicles. They pulled over and heard ducklings calling out from a nearby drain on the bridge.
Mama duck is reunited with her ducklings in a pond near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

That is when our bridge maintenance specialist Jerry England, who works at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, was called into action. Together with England, they removed the drain cover and modified a bucket that had the bottom cut out and replaced the bottom with netting. They lowered the bucket into the drain so it sat under the water surface.
The duck rescue team modified a bucket to scoop out the trapped duckings.
One by one, the ducklings were scooped up out of the drain and placed temporarily into a cardboard box. England also consulted with the Department of Fish and Wildlife on where to take the ducklings. Hoping that momma duck was still in the neighborhood, they went to a nearby pond and released one duckling into the water. It immediately started chirping and instantly momma duck swooped in to retrieve fluffy yellow baby. We are happy to report that momma duck and all her ducklings were reunited, just in time for Mother’s Day. Great job, team!
A State Patrol trooper lowers a modified bucket into a drain to scoop out stranding ducklings.