Ducklings escorted through housing estate to safety

A mother duck and her 11 ducklings ended up having an escort through a housing estate in Hailsham this morning (Tuesday 2nd July 2013) after being found wandering round the local roads by local residents. 5 volunteers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) attended on site to help the family get to their home safely.

The mother duck and her 11 ducklings were escorted to safety through the housing estate
The mother duck and her 11 ducklings were escorted to safety through the housing estate

Local residents of Birch Way, Hailsham called out East Sussex WRAS at 9.30am after spotting the family wandering in the road and concerned they may get run over. The local residents encouraged them into their garden where there were confined until rescuers arrived.

"Ducks frequently lay their eggs 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" explained Trevor Weeks MBE founder of WRAS.

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 direct 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 or something " said Trevor.

Mum and ducklings walking to ponds is quite a common occurrence but sadly these journeys often end in disaster with mum and/or youngsters being run over and killed. Luckily on this occasion they all safely arrived at their destination.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks MBE (East Sussex WRAS) - 07931 523958

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