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Posted at 07:07 PM ET, 04/11/2011

Ducklings rescued by National Geographic employees

Two National Geographic employees rescued a mother duck and her hatchlings who got lost in a downtown building loading dock area today.

PHOTOS: More images of the mallard ducks

Anthony Peritore and Ted Johnson found the mother and her 10 ducklings trying to cross a busy alley behind the National Geographic building on 17th & M streets in NW D.C. They caught the babies in boxes to return them to the building’s courtyard, a relatively safer place.

Peritore said the mother had made her nest at a building across the street, where the security guard had kept an eye on the 11 eggs, 10 of which hatched over the weekend. The mother duck and her ducklings crossed 17th Street earlier today, seeking the garden area and fountain in the National Geographic courtyard.

A group of baby ducks got lost behind the National Geographic building at 17th & M streets in downtown D.C. (James Buck - James Buck)

Peritore said his building supervisor had alerted him to the situation in the morning, but after making a dozen phone calls they were unable to find an agency that would come get the ducks. The best they could do was to keep an eye on them.

But when the ducks decided to jump off a 10-foot wall into an alley used by trucks, the men corralled the baby birds and brought them back to the courtyard, hoping to keep them safe long enough to find a rescue organization.
The ducks were rescued from a loading dock behind National Geographic. (James Buck)

“The Parks Service said to just let them be,” said Peritore. “In the wild, if they get eaten by something, they die - that’s nature. But this is not natural. You never want to see anything so young killed for no reason.”

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By James Buck and  |  07:07 PM ET, 04/11/2011

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