It all started with a desperate SOS email from Kristine Young in our customer service team “Any ideas what to do to save little ducks in the basin? Or how to get them out? The mother is resting on the side, good for her, father duck just flew off with other male ducks and little ones are stuck in the pond and are unable to get out?” Are we surprised by the lack of parental control demonstrated by father duck and that he went off with his mates? Not really.
But we were shocked and horrified at the thought of the stranded ducklings. What could we do? Ideas came flooding in. Meanwhile we all held our breath just hoping the ducklings would not drown.
After a great deal of email exchanges including suggestions on how to tackle the challenge, some of which were totally impractical and others controversial to say the least, it was decided that we should drain the basin. Tom Gurney and Chris Gillespie sprang into action and deployed Operation Duckling. It was a dangerous mission but yes they chose to accept it. Do these guys know no fear?
They left the comfort of the office in an attempt to liberate the vulnerable baby birds. Pushing past two sprightly armed pensioners who were wielding a bag of stale bread, the boys successfully disarmed them before opening the lock gates. Their mission was to drain the water out and physically rescue the ducklings.
After a nail biting half an hour and a heroic feat of strength, sweat and stamina the ducklings were brought to the safety of the riverbank and reunited with their anxious mother. Needless to say she was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude.
We were all cheering in the office as the conquering heroes came back. Mud splattered and exhausted they had accomplished their mission. Alas their moment of triumph was somewhat transient. Nothing could prepare us for what happened next!
Just as the ducklings were nestling in the wings of their mother’s downy feathers safe and secure in their maternal haven of love and protection, a greedy magpie appeared from out of nowhere. It had been stalking its prey for some time apparently, unobserved by most onlookers. It swooped on one of the ducklings and devoured it within seconds.
Needless to say we are all upset. Kristine and Mandy more than likely will need counselling as they were left traumatised by the incident, but nature is a curious thing. After all the strongest and the fleetest will inevitably survive whilst predictably the weakest and most vulnerable will perish.
A short period of mourning ensued followed by a minutes silence to mark the duckling’s passage into duck utopia.