SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – A different type of water rescue took place near Covell Lake in Sioux Falls Thursday.
A mother duck and her babies have ruled the roost in the courtyard of Dow Rummel Village.
“We’ve really had a lot of fun with it. The residents like it and they’re around for maybe a week inside the interior courtyard where they feed them,” Dow Rummel maintenance manager Dan Johnson said.
But as the motherly mallard was leading her brood on a stroll through the Dow Rummel parking lot, three of her ducklings fell through a grate and into the drain pipe below.
“Mom, she’s walking over the grate herself and she can make it, but the little ones fall in and she doesn’t even realize it and pretty soon she’s back there standing over the grate squawking to try to get them back out,” Johnson said.
So the Dow Rummel maintenance staff went after the wayward waddlers.
“I got here this morning and the first thing I heard was there’s ducks in the grate. So, we kind of know what to do about it so I just headed over there and pulled the grate out and we hopped down there and tried to see if we could get them to one end or the other,” Dow Rummel maintenance associate Mike Rinder said.
It took some coaxing and calling.
“Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp,” Rinder said.
And the ducklings were set free one by one, their little webbed feet cart-wheeling in delight over their reunion.
“Everybody loves that, mom getting reunited with the little ones,” Johnson said.
Then it was time to herd the family across the street to Covell Lake.
“You see all the farm kids trying to chase chickens around and it’s the same idea. They’re fast and you gotta grab,” Rinder said.
The Dow Rummel staff has become very skilled at these water rescues. It turns out, baby ducks go underground just about every year at this time.
“Last year, I think we retrieved maybe a half-dozen out of there,” Johnson said.
Safely out of harm’s way, the baby ducks followed their mother’s lead by doing a cannonball into Covell Lake, their new home.
“We got ’em,” Rinder said.
The Dow Rummel staff will be putting chicken wire over the grate so no more ducklings will fall through.