A mother duck and her 11 ducklings were escorted to safety on Tuesday (July 2) after being found wandering around the roads through a housing estate in Hailsham by residents.
Residents from Birch Way, spotted the family wandering in the road and concerned they may get run over contacted volunteers from the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. Residents encouraged the family into their gardens where they were confined until rescuers arrived.
Trevor Weeks MBE founder of WRAS said: “Duckling frequently give birth in gardens and parks as it is safer for them than nesting by a pond, where gulls, mink, cats, foxes, birds of prey, corvids, pike and other predators will be expecting them, so the mother finds a nice quiet garden where they are less likely to be found and she can nest in peace and quiet without even the other male ducks pestering her too.
“The mother normally knows the route she wants to take back to the pond she has chosen but as the ducklings are so young and can’t fly she has to walk them which causes them to get into trouble falling down drains and getting run over. There were several ponds which the mum and ducklings might head for so rescuers decided to give them an escort rather than run the risk of catching them and mum either flying off and abandoning them or taking the ducks and releasing them at the wrong location.
“We had two rescuers who stayed behind them, two in front to prevent them from heading across drains and a fifth person who was warning approaching traffic. The whole process of escorting them took about 20 minutes as they crossed the housing estate. Everyone was very helpful and happy to pass carefully and we all kept our distance so mum didn’t feel threatened and comfortable enough to walk in the direction she wanted to go. Some organisations will catch mum and ducklings and move them but on this occasion we didn’t want to run the risk of placing her somewhere she didn’t want to be resulting in her attempting to moving them again later in the day to a different pond and getting run over.”
The whole family arrived at their destination together safe and sound.