Dash to save ducklings

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A new Pakenham family has helped rescue 10 ducklings and a mother duck after a car scare dispersed the startled birds in all directions.

Pakenham resident Bernie Fisher was sitting in his lounge room watching television on the afternoon of Tuesday 6 September when he caught sight of a car braking suddenly outside the front of his house.

As it turned out, the car had stopped so as not to hit a duck and her ducklings walking across Duncan Drive from the B. J. Wallis Gardens.

“I went out to have a look and straight away I was concerned because they took off and were headed in the wrong direction.

“Instead of going towards the park, they were headed for the road and the railway line, and the mother duck was just frantic,” Mr Fisher said.

“On top of that, the crows were circling and I couldn’t help but think that this mummy’s gotta say goodbye to her poor little ducklings.

“But then they all came back onto my side of the road and got into the neighbours’ backyards. I straight away thought that I had to try to round them all up.”

Meanwhile, the five Martin siblings – Jezreel, Mileke, Xenobia, Acacia and Saffron, who are aged between four and 15 – had been playing with friends at a nearby property and after seeing Mr Fisher struggling to catch the ducks, they took over the pursuit.

They began herding them up and sought permission from neighbours to chase the ducklings through about four backyards.

At one point, they were concerned for two of the ducklings’ safety as the birds had taken off into a property whose owners were not home and a dog could be heard barking in the property.

But fortunately all ducklings, as well as the mother duck, were accounted for after the 20-minute ordeal was over.

“At first I was concerned the kids would cause trouble but they were very gentle. They stayed very calm and didn’t get too overexcited,” Mr Fisher said.

“They caught them all without hurting any of them. There’s no way in the world I would have been able to catch all those ducklings because they were just too fast. It was so unbelievable how helpful these kids were, I really didn’t expect it.”

The Martins and Mr Fisher collected the ducklings into a large plastic box and set them free by Lily Pond.

“We tipped them onto the grass in the park. They jumped into the pond and swam across to join up with their mummy,” he said.

“It was a lot of excitement and it all happened quite quickly. At the end, everyone was happy and smiling.

“I was very proud of how quickly and responsibly these kids reacted.”

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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