Lucky ducklings rescued
It was just by chance that a few weeks ago 13-year-old Darby Patterson’s mum told her a story about rescuing ducks from a drain.
So last Tuesday, when Darby happened to see a group of students looking at a mother duck and two ducklings which had been killed on Orwell Rd, she didn’t just keep walking when she heard a ‘‘little noise’’.
Instead, she crossed the road to check inside the drain.
Sure enough, there were four ducklings in one of the stormwater pipes.
‘‘The ducklings were in the cylinder going up the hill. I could see the beaks - I saw one. There were heaps of cars coming, so we had to quickly run back onto the pavement,’’ the Albany Junior High School student said.
With the help of a friend, she lifted off the grate and set about trying to rescue them, using leftover bread from her lunch. Another student ran home to fetch a net.
Greenhithe resident Debbie Prevett happened to be driving by, when she saw a group of students on the side of the road. Concerned, she stopped to check if everything was alright.
‘‘When people kill an animal like that, they don’t stop to deal with it. They just think, ‘Oh well, it’s dead,’ and carry on, because they’re in a hurry,’’ she said.
‘‘And it was the darling children that found them all down the drain - they were so cool.’’
Another duck, thought to have been part of the same family, had also been killed prior.
She stayed with the students until the ducklings were out and took them to Sylvia Durrant’s Bird Rescue in Rothesay Bay.
Darby’s good friend Maya Das, who was on the way home from the bus with her dad, also stopped off and helped with the rescue, taking charge of holding all the ducklings once they had been rescued from the drain.
A mother out walking with her baby went home to fetch a plastic box to transport them in.
Although the rescue took around an hour, Darby said she didn’t consider leaving the ducklings.
‘‘I was determined to get all the ducklings out, because I would never leave an animal in that state,’’ she said.
‘‘Especially when they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them,’’ Maya added.
Prevett said dogs, cats and ducks had been killed at that particular spot on Orwell Rd before, with the dip in the road making them hard to see animals crossing. Speeding had also ‘‘always been an issue’’ but had worsened with increased construction and traffic flow in the area, she said.
‘‘We’re forever telling people to slow down because it’s terrifying how fast they get going especially that hump [at the bottom of Orwell Rd].’’