Ducklings Rescued From D.C. Drain

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The Associated Press
Monday, May 18, 2009; 8:41 AM

Firefighters plucked four baby ducks from a storm drain Monday after the rescuers heard the mother squawking for her hatchlings in a bustling Washington neighborhood known more for nightlife than wildlife.

Firefighters at Engine Company 9 noticed a duck "screaming at a storm drain" in an alley, fire department spokesman Alan Etter said. When they took the cover off the drain, they found four ducklings swimming about six feet down, he said.

The firefighters took all the ducks, including a fifth duckling that had stayed by its mother's side, to a nearby police station, where they were handed over to animal control, Etter said.

Animal control officials said the ducks were brought to a rehabilitation center, which will release them back into the wild once they are healthy enough.

Suzanne Pope, who lives in a nearby building, said she noticed the duck family over the weekend. She said the mother had built a nest out of newspapers under her van.

Pope said she used her cousin's car so she wouldn't have to disturb the ducks and brought them a pail of water.

Pope, whose own children are 25 and 11, said she is still trying to figure out what brought the mother and her ducklings to her neighborhood, where there isn't any water that might attract the birds.

"The mother was so tiny, and the ducklings were so weak," said Pope, 45. "I kept calling the police department. I said, 'From one mother to another, could you make sure she's OK?"'

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