For the second time in a week, the Fond du Lac Fire Department responded to a unique call, a dozen ducklings were stuck in a storm sewer. Experts say incidents like that are fairly common this time of year.
David Reitz was out on his morning walk today when he noticed something strange. A hen was circling a sewer grate in his Fond du Lac neighborhood.
“When we got done with our walk, walked back down that way, looked down the sewer grate, chased her away again and there was about 12 or 13 babies down there,” says Reitz.
With the help of his neighbors, the group was able to remove the sewer grate. Getting to the ducklings, however, proved to be a challenge.
According to Reitz, “We thought, hmmm, do we have a ladder that will allow us to go down there ten feet and get the babies?”
They didn’t so they called the Fond du Lac Fire Department for help.
Firefighter/Paramedic Sam Tennessen says, “Yes, this is the duckling season so we’ve received three or four call thus far for ducks down the drain sewer.”
According to Rachel Brookins, a wildlife biologist with the DNR, spring is the time of year when ducklings and other baby wildlife are born. Sewer grates often prove to be a hazard for the babies as they follow their mom in search of food and water.
“Mom will walk over it cause she’s bigger and doesn’t fall through and the little ducklings are small and they just kind of fall through the grates,” says Brookins.
Brookins said the Fond du Lac residents did the right thing by calling for the help. Firefighters then used a pool net to pull the twelve birds to safety, before they were released nearby with hopes of being reunited with their mom.
Added Brookins, “All of the little chirping and the peeping that you’ll hear, a mother knows what her little ducklings sound like and as soon as they hear that they’ll come back and they will just follow mom like nothing ever happened.”
And that’s exactly what happened. The mother hen returned to the scene to collect her family before leading them off together.
The DNR says while residents did the right thing by seeking help for the ducklings, it’s important to remember it’s illegal to keep wild animals like that, and people should remember to keep wildlife wild.