Residents come together to save ducks: ‘It was instantly clear the mom was in distress’

| July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

JUNE STREET resident Mindy Schultheis watches in surprise as a family of ducks marches by.

In the lonely days of the pandemic quarantine, June Street resident Ed Redlich last month discovered some surprising new company in the neighborhood. A mother duck and four of her ducklings had become hopelessly lost, wandering north on the west side of June Street between Rosewood and Clinton.

“It was instantly clear that the mom was in distress,” Redlich says. “It looked like they were trying to find a way east somewhere, but were being blocked by the homes along June.” Redlich was soon joined by neighbors, as they all struggled to come up with a solution. “We considered trying to get them to a pool or fountain,” Redlich says, “But we were not at all sure how to move them there.” And to make matters worse, one of the young ducklings, unable to climb over higher walls and curbs, kept falling behind the others and had to be picked up by hand and returned to his waddling siblings.

Seeking help from June Street neighbors George Stoneman and his wife Laurie, the crew soon learned the secret behind the floundering fowl. It seems a Channel 7 News helicopter had made a low-fuel emergency landing on the course of the Wilshire Country Club, and the terrified mallard must have assumed the large craft was some new species of predatory bird. Luckily, the Stonemans were able to provide a large box, while the others came up with a plan. It was decided that rather than attempt to corral the mom, they would use the box to scoop up her ducklings and walk them back to the golf course, with their mom hopefully following close behind.

A GREEN ANOLE watches the activity unfold perched on a fence between the golf course and a residence on June Street.

After checking several homes along the course, the team found a neighbor whose back yard had a gate that opened onto the course, and the rescue plan went into action. Wearing protective gloves, and staying socially distanced, they snatched up the elusive fuzzy youngsters while attempting to calm the increasingly agitated mom, who flapped, hopped and flew behind the box as the entire entourage headed between homes and onto the course.

Waddling off back toward their presumed home in the El Rio del Jardin de las Flores brook that runs through the golf course on its way to Ballona Creek and the ocean, the happy mallard and her kids seemed undeterred by the two large copters that now sat preparing to take off. (The second came to service the first chopper.)

“We thought for a while we’d have some new pals in our bathtub for a couple of days.” Redlich reflected. “But at a time we all feel so distanced from each other, this was certainly a nice way to bring back some neighborly spirit.”

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Category: People

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