DERRY — Police Officer Seth Plumer said he’s not much of an angler, but he was pretty adept at fishing ducklings out of a storm drain Monday afternoon on busy Crystal Avenue.
A mother mallard and her 12 ducklings apparently were trying to cross the busy street. Mom and two ducklings were spotted on the edge of the street, quacking unhappily. Ten more ducklings were swimming in the storm drain, having fallen through a storm grate.
Concerned witnesses called Derry police and Plumer was first on the scene. He blocked a lane of traffic while waiting for Animal Control Officer Marlene Bishop to arrive.
Armed with a long-handled net and a good attitude, the two officers started fishing.
The fallen ducklings were visible, swimming in dirty water, about 5 feet down after Plumer removed the grate.
The mother duck marched around the grass at Monster Gas at the corner of Crystal Avenue and Tsienneto Road, her two safe ducklings trailing behind.
One duckling was pulled up and quickly joined its family.
With Plumer working the net, Bishop kept an eye of the fowl family because the mother was eager to get her ducklings back and leave the scene.
In one attempt, Plumer managed to get four ducklings in the net at once.
Meanwhile, gas station customers leapt into action, herding the growing family under cars and finally putting the reunited ducklings into a plastic bin.
Bishop held tightly to the mother duck, crouching over the drain in the hopes the adult female would call out to the ducklings below.
But the 12th duckling proved elusive, apparently swimming under the road via the storm pipe. The storm drain system runs across and along Crystal Avenue, so it was impossible to tell where that final duckling had fled.
After an hour of rescue work under a blazing sun, Bishop decided it was in the ducks’ best interest to get the family out of there.