Glasgow – Just before 10 a.m. this morning Christiana Fire Company, Engine 12, was dispatched to Route 40 and Glasgow Avenue for an animal in need of rescue call.
Arriving crew members found a local animal lover and a McDonald’s Manager attempting to save seven ducklings that had fallen through a drainage grate along Pulaski Highway.
Kim Wilson, an animal lover, said she saw a mother and seven of her ducklings become separated as they were trying to cross Route 40. The mother and several other ducklings made it across the road into the McDonald’s Parking lot, which drew the attention of McDonald’s manager Ervin Phillips. “I’ve never seen ducks crossing here before.”, said Phillips.
Wilson was in the McDonald’s parking lot and pulled her vehicle in front of the mother to protect her. “The mother was having a hard time getting over the high curb”, said Wilson. Once the mother and several other ducklings made it over the curb they waited for the stranded ducklings before continuing. “They crossed the other side of 40 into the church property”, said Wilson.
Wilson and Phillips quickly jumped into action. Phillips grabbed a McMuffin and a cardboard box from the McDonalds, while Wilson called for backup. The McMuffin kept the group close together as Engine 12 made its way to the scene.
Once on scene the crew quickly devised a plan to rescue the “little guys”. They determined that the underground pipe lead to a manhole a few yards away. After popping the cover off one of the crew members jumped down the hole with the cardboard box in hand. The plan was to station another crew member in the original hole and use a stream of water from the fire hose to float the ducklings into the box.
That part of the plan took a few minutes and netted four of the ducklings. The other three became separated and were lost in the underground network of pipes. Crews quickly climbed to the surface to rethink the plan. One firefighter jumped down into the creek bed and entered a large pipe emptying into the creek. Another opened a manhole in the McDonald’s parking lot and climbed under ground. While that was going on crews working at the original hole threw a few more pieces of the McMuffin into the whole drawing two more out. With six of the seven rescued attention turned back to the two crew members that were underground.
The crew chief asked how many ducklings were stranded in total. Wilson replied seven, later saying she was worried that the last one wouldn’t make it.
“We’ve got number seven!” yelled the crew chief as he pulled the last ducking from the manhole.
After quick hugs and thanks to the firefighters Wilson headed over to the church to see if she could reunite the ducklings with their mother. After walking the grounds for several minutes Wilson was unable to locate the mother and reluctantly called Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. Tri-State told Wilson that releasing the ducklings was not a good idea and they would be happy to take them in.
After wrapping the ducklings in a blanket Wilson took them to the Newark rescue and research center, where they are all doing well, according to Tri-State spokeswoman Rebecca Stansel.
Stansel said that the rescue center receives around 100 ducklings a year, most staying with them from 4 to 8 weeks. Once they are large enough the ducks will be released back in to an appropriate habitat, added Stansel.