When I had gone out to attend a class yesterday, my parents had texted me a photo of a mother duck and her little ducklings.
“They are in front of our house right now. There are 10 baby ducklings!”
My parents had notified me of the mother duck and her ducklings before they went out to work.
“If they are still there when you get home, why don’t you give them some veggies?” My mother had texted.
Thrilled to see the duck family, I went straight home after class. But when I arrived, there were no signs of ducks. Disappointed at their disappearance, I went inside, thinking that maybe some other time I’ll get to see a duck family. I began to work on my assignments until I heard loud quacks outside.
Excited, I dashed outside with a bag of romaine. To my surprise, there was only the mother duck.
She quacked and waddled in the parking lot in front of my house. When I tried to give her romaine, she came close then waddled away.
Puzzled at the absence of her 10 ducklings and at her behavior, I went back inside. Perhaps the ducklings are safe in their home somewhere and the mother duck is looking about the neighborhood, I thought. But the mother duck began to quack again at about 8 o’clock, which made me and my mom go outside and see what was the matter.
When we went close to the mother duck to see what was going on, she scurried away only to waddle close again. Unable to see what the matter was, we went back inside.
It wasn’t until today morning at around 6:50 that I was able to see what was really going on.
When I woke up this morning, I heard the quacks again. Maybe this time she’ll want some food, I thought. With the bag of romaine, I rushed outside to see the mother duck alone and quacking. But again, when I threw pieces of romaine on the floor close to the mother duck, she waddled away and came back.
However, this time, I noticed that the mother duck was lingering around the catch basin. Then, I realized that loud chirping sounds were coming from the catch basin.
Before, I had thought that the chirping noises were coming from nearby bushes. Mixed with the chirps of other birds, I had not realized the chirps of the baby ducklings coming from the catch basin!
Now I saw that the mother duck was waddling around the parking lot because she was anxious, worried, and desperate to save her ducklings who had fallen into the catch basin. She had been quacking for help. When I came with a bag of romaine, she had come close then waddled away, because she did not want food. She wanted help!
Ascertaining with my mother that the high-pitched chirps were coming from the catch basin, I called the Animal Services Unit of the police department, which luckily was open from 7 A.M.
While waiting for someone from the Animal Services Unit, my mother and I stood with the mother duck. My mother said to the duck, “You poor thing. They’re coming to get your babies out. Wait a little bit longer.”
When my mother had gone back inside to cook breakfast, I stood alone with the mother duck. She had waddled to and fro in the parking lot and around the catch basin. The poor mother duck had been quacking to alert and ask for help since yesterday afternoon.
Suddenly, the mother duck stopped and stared at me, or in my direction. After a short pause, she fluttered her wings and flew past me. I dodged the mother duck, who flew away and disappeared.
I had thought at that moment, “She must have went out to get more help. She’ll come back.”
But even after someone from the Animal Services Unit came and rescued the little baby ducklings (there were actually 11!) from the wet, cold catch basin, she did not come back.
The rescuer told me that he could not wait forever for the disappeared mother to come back. He was going to take the baby ducklings (who were rescued and huddled on a cloth in a white container) to a wildlife rescue center located in Huntington Beach, CA.
At first, I asked the man to wait a little bit longer for the mother duck. She was here less than half an hour ago; she was sure to come back. But as minutes passed and there were no signs of her, I agreed with the rescuer that it would be best for the ducklings to go away. They were hungry, weak, and tired from the long, cold night they had to endure in the deep catch basin.
The man from the Animal Services Unit left with the 11 little ducklings to Huntington Beach. The mother duck did not come back.
I don’t know what the mother duck was thinking about when she flew away. I will never know. But maybe after successfully letting someone know about her poor ducklings in the catch basin, she had felt that she did all she could. Perhaps she was content knowing that her baby ducklings would be taken out of the catch basin to somewhere much warm and comfortable. Maybe she was watching us humans rescue her ducklings from a distance.
I will never know.