Animals and human beings don’t naturally communicate easily. Of course, if you train your pet dog to understand the command “sit”—and you understand their whines for “let me outside!”—it’s much easier. But what happens when we’ve got to communicate with a wild animal?
One Phoenix man spotted this firsthand while he was out for a walk. The man noticed that a duck kept quacking—which ducks are wont to do, of course. But this duck in particular seemed to be trying to get his attention. He could’ve kept walking, but instead he decided to figure out what the duck had to say…
A Phoenix, Arizona, resident had been enjoying a walk one day when he heard the distinct sound of a quacking duck. Normally, he wouldn’t have found this to be all that unusual. After all, quacking is what ducks do!
However, it didn’t take him long to figure out that this was more than your average quack. It soon became clear that the duck was trying to get his attention… but why on earth was she doing that?
As it turned out, the bird was a mother, and her ducklings were in danger! They were trapped under a nearby metal grate, which they must’ve fallen through when the little duck family walked near it. The mama duck likely didn’t realize her babies were small enough to slip inside.
The man knew that he had to act quickly, but he wasn’t sure what to do. At first, he tried to lift the grate and free the ducklings himself, but it quickly became clear that this would be impossible. So he called his local fire department for help.
Luckily, the firemen were available! While the man was worried they would think he was making a prank call, they believed him. They were ready to help, but it was going to take a little bit of strategizing…
“The fire station was two minutes down the road and they weren’t on any calls at the moment,” the man said later. With no other emergencies, the firemen quickly went to work to save the ducklings in peril.
Though he was relieved that they’d be able to help him figure out how to save the ducklings, the man knew it wouldn’t be easy. The grate was exceptionally heavy, even for him—and he was a full-grown man!
The firemen discussed several different options, but in the end they realized that the most straightforward way would be best. They decided to use the tools they had available to remove the grate.
It took them about 10 minutes to open the grate. Once they were able to lift it up, they realized that the trickiest part would be moving it to one side without dropping it down the hole—and potentially hurting the ducklings.
Once the grate was removed, they couldn’t just leap down into the hole. They needed to prod the area and make sure that there weren’t any rattlesnakes waiting to make them—and the ducklings—into their next meal.
Still, the hardworking firefighters were determined to retrieve the ducklings safely. Once they realized there were no snakes waiting below, they set up a ladder and slowly climbed down armed with a cooler.
Unfortunately, they had yet another obstacle in their way: the ducklings were the same exact color as the leaves in the hole, and some of them were staying silent and still out of fear. The firefighters had to be sure that they saved each duckling!
One had to imagine that the mother duck was anxious when she saw all the commotion surrounding her babies. She tried to keep a safe distance away, but she was still fixated on the now-open grate.
It must’ve been torture for this mama duck! She had no idea if the men were there to help or hurt her babies. It’s easy for humans to understand that these men meant nothing but good, but she had no way of knowing that.
Meanwhile, the firemen kept working as fast as they could as the mother duck circled them in the sky. She seemed to be observing their every move in regards to her ducklings, albeit from a distance.
The man who initially found the ducklings tried his best to stay out of the firemen’s way, but he was curious to see how it was all end. So, he began to film the entire rescue as the firemen devised a safe way to retrieve the baby ducks.
In the end, nine teeny little ducklings were found and carefully pulled out from beneath the grate. Though the rescue took slightly longer than everyone wanted it to, they had to be careful so as not to terrify the ducklings or accidentally harm them.
Finally, with the fluffy ducklings safely inside the cooler, the firefighters carried them to a fence near a neighboring back yard. One of the rescuers spotted the mother duck, who’d been flying overhead, land there.
As soon as the rescuers placed the cooler on the ground, the ducklings eagerly ran out! They scurried beneath the fence to be reunited with their mother. The mother duck seemed relieved, too!
The whole rescue is definitely worth seeing. Thankfully, the man who found the ducks in the first place captured the entire encounter on video. Just watch the moment the mama duck desperately quacked at him for help!
(Warning: video includes some profane language.)
That poor mother duck must have been so scared that she would never see her little ducklings again. Thank goodness this man recognized that she needed his help!
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