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  • Writer's pictureRae Gellel

Another Day, Another Batch of Ducklings at the Royal Arsenal...

By 9.00 AM today we were back in the lagoon at the Royal Arsenal catching 16 ducklings and their mother.

This lagoon had absolutely no ramps at all for the ducklings to leave the water, so we were quite frantic to get over there before they got waterlogged and drowned. It’s also the biggest of all the water features at the Arsenal.

I was hoping for a straightforward rescue since yesterday was absolutely exhausting, but sadly it wasn’t to be. It took us almost three hours in the vast lagoon to finally net the mother duck, though thankfully we did it in the end, which isn’t true of all these rescues, as mallards are just so incredibly difficult to catch.

She was extremely wary of us and we couldn’t get very close to her at all, but unlike on previous rescues, she did not simply fly away when spooked but kept circling the area. So we kept a rotation of four ducklings on the water to lure her down - taking them out when they got too cold and replacing them with another four, fresh off the heat pad! This pattern dragged on and on - luring mum down, her flying off when we got close, and repeat - and we were all wet, freezing and feeling hopeless but we just felt we couldn’t give up whilst she was still in the area.

Eventually we hatched a plan to guide her onto a terrace with an overhanging balcony, where she had no clear flight path out. This worked brilliantly and I was able to net her, but in her panic she flew at a glass door, so we brought her back with us for observation and ensure there were no signs of concussion before we released her.

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