By Tina Comeau
Talk about lucky duckies.
There was a lot of commotion in the north end of Yarmouth on Tuesday afternoon, May 27, and it could be directly attributed to a mother duck whose squawking caught the attention of some passers-by near the foot of Huntington Street.
It was obvious the duck was very agitated. One of the people to notice was Kathy Page, who was walking close by.
“I said, ‘That’s a mama duck, something is wrong,’ and that’s when I looked down the hole and saw the babies,’” she says.
The ducklings had fallen through the grate of a storm sewer and their mother was quite frantic about the situation – waddling and squawking, waddling and squawking.
Another person who was driving by stopped their truck and removed the grate from the hole and soon after the RCMP arrived on the scene.
Among them was off-duty officer Constable Gary Bartlett, who happened to be at the Yarmouth town detachment when the call for help came in.
“The detachment assistant said, ‘Gary there’s some ducks stuck in a drain, can you go get them out. And I said, yeah, I’d be glad to,’” he explains. He and other RCMP members headed for the scene.
“I think I was the only one with arms long enough to reach,” he says laughing, talking about being the one to lay on the ground and climb partially into the hole to rescue the baby ducks. Another member held onto him so he didn’t fall in.
Kathy Page shot video of the rescue as it was taking place. She says at first everyone thought there were only 10 ducklings, but it turns out there were 11. Cst. Bartlett explains what was happening underground.
“One little guy ran off down the drain pipe on me so I had a hard time getting him back,” he says. Cst. Bartlett says there was a rock and all of the ducklings were huddled up on the rock together so he was able to grab each of them one at a time and lift them to safety.
“Then the one guy, he wanted to be with the other ones but he kept running down the drain pipe,” says the RCMP member. “I thought we were going to lose him but eventually he realized they were all gone so he came flying out, just running, and I caught him, luckily. I had him by the foot the first time and I lost him but the second time I caught him.”
He says it was amazing to see the mother duck wait until the last duckling was lifted to safety before she left with them.
Kathy Page followed the ducks to make sure they made their way safely back to the water near the Irving gas station.
“I wouldn’t leave them,” she says, wanting to make sure the ducks weren’t struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. “I didn’t want to see them get hit after they had been rescued.”
For his part, Cst. Bartlett was glad to help, saying, “In our line of work there’s not a lot of happy endings. But every now and again you get a good one.”
VIDEO COURTESY OF KATHY PAGE