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  • Writer's pictureRae Gellel

Mum & 13 Ducklings Safely Relocated After Becoming Trapped

There's no doubt that nesting season has arrived - it's been an exhausting day! A happy outcome for this family of ducks during a rescue this afternoon certainly makes it all worth it, though.

We became aware of a post on a local community group about some ducklings at the Royal Arsenal complex, who hatched and then promptly entered an ornamental, chlorinated lake that they were then unable to climb out of due to its steep sides. The post was already two hours old by the time a volunteer had spotted it and during that period the ducklings would have been getting increasingly tired and cold - they need access to land to survive, so a fast response was required.

The Royal Arsenal is a real problem area for ducks nesting inappropriate places - from balconies to areas with absolutely no access to water for flightless ducklings - and Swan Sanctuary volunteers and the RSPCA had already been called out to the same location on previous years, to rectify the same scenario.

The problem was that the lake was vast, with lots of twists and corners, and that there were a total of 13 ducklings to catch and mum, who was fully capable of flight! Catching fully flighted ducks is normally a shot in hell - they're small and quick to dodge or fly off all together. Often in these cases we have no choice to simply rescue the ducklings and leave mum behind, and it is horribly sad and guilt-inducing. Building a ramp was also not an option as the staff overseeing the lake were not happy for the ramp - or the duck family - to stay long term, though they were extremely helpful in providing us access and in helping to carry our endless equipment.

Anyway - after lots of scrambling to free up volunteers, myself, Fran and Peter were eventually able to attend and after entering the lake, set about catching the family, one by one. To our immense relief we were able to catch the mother duck in a net - a miracle! - meaning that the family will not need to be split up, but merely relocated to a more sensible location. We already have one in mind. Since the ducklings were so exhausted and shivering, they're spending the night and being released tomorrow.

A lovely outcome after a very hectic rescue. Many thanks to the lovely gentlemen from the concierge and the supportive residents, including the lady who allowed us to trample through her flat with waders, nets and all sorts. And to Peter and Fran, of course!

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