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City, residents come to rescue of ducklings

Police officers and public works employees teamed up with Farmington residents to rescue 20 ducklings from storm drains May 5.

When it comes to crossing the road, Farmington's ducklings might want to get a little advice from the chicken.

In separate incidents in two parts of town May 5 police, public works employees and Farmington residents rescued 20 ducks from storm sewers along city streets.

The the dueling ducks-in-distress calls came in about half an hour apart last Wednesday morning.

The first incident happened along Eighth Street near Main. Pat Christensen said her husband, Roger, was having a cup of coffee when he noticed a female mallard pacing back and forth on the boulevard.

"He didn't think anything of it, so he sat back down again," Christensen said. "A couple minutes later there was a guy out there."

That got Roger's attention, so he headed outside and heard the quacking of ducklings through a sewer grate. The other individual called 911 and Farmington police responded.

Christensen said the rescue took about 45 minutes. Roger duct taped a fishing net to a wooden pole and rescuers were able to scoop out eight ducklings through two separate sewer grates. Christensen said the sewer was at least six feet deep.

Police blocked traffic on Highway 3 to allow the ducks to cross to the east side, to a pond where they nest.

"It was kind of cute to see them puddling across the highway," Christensen said.

The entire rescue took about 45 minutes, Christensen said.

Christensen said the adult mallards have been a fixture in her neighborhood for the past two or three years, and several of the people on the street have become protective of them.

"I hope they don't do that again," she said.

Farmington police hardly had time to rest after the days first duck rescue before another group of young fowl landed itself in hot water. According to Farmington Police community service officer Richard Girard 12 ducklings fell through a storm sewer grate on 187th Street a short time later.

A passerby had already started rescuing the ducks by the time police arrived.

"He just kind of took the grate out, jumped right down and started picking them out, one by one," Girard said.

Rescuers were able to pull out all but one of the ducklings. They flushed the last one through the storm sewer system to a nearby pond.

Farmington police officer Pete Zajac, who helped with the first rescue and was called to the second before being called away, called the rescue activity a nice change of pace.

"It was something different. It was fun," Zajac said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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