Rescuers had a difficult duckling rescue yesterday early evening at Princes Park Eastbourne. Initial reports were of 7 ducklings abandoned on the lake swimming around without mum. Fearing that mum had left them rescuers Kai Ahmed and Chris Riddington attended on site and began to search the area. Mum had been seen the previous day with 10 ducklings but she was no long present anmnd
“These rescues are always difficult. When you are working with waterfowl, they never stay in one place and you know that by the time you get there they will have moved somewhere completely different, but eventually we found them” said Chris.
Frustratingly the youngsters were tiny, thought to be no more than a week old. Not interested in seed or bread they just scattered every time rescuers got close.
“Working on a large open lake is very difficult when dealing with any waterfowl. A successful water rescue rests on you being able to move quickly enough and to get the birds into a more restricted area. You can’t zoom in and try catching them with a boat as they scatter, plus you run the risk of injuring them when so small or squashing them so the boat approach couldn’t be used. So Kai and I encouraged the ducklings towards the outlet to make them easier to catch. Once they were over the weir the situation would be much more manageable. Ducklings are very good at diving under water to get away and can swim surprisingly fast under water too” explained Chris.
Rescuers used long poles and nets and slowly encouraged the ducklings to the outlet stream. “Kai was on one side and myself on the other. Kai and I managed to catch three each leaving one which disappeared under the water fall from the weir. We climbed out onto weir and had to search by hand in and around the water. Eventually it was spotted and it was quickly rescued” said Chris.
The “magnificent 7” were rushed to WRAS’s Casualty Centre to be warmed up under a heat lamp.
They are none the worse for their ordeal and tucking into food well.