The Duck Whisperers (video)

While walking the dog, last night, I ran into two guys in Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC who were trying to help some ducklings get into a pond.  (I’ve posted a video of the entire encounter at the bottom of this story, but it helps to read what happened first.)

mamma-baby-ducks-2

The guys, Adam Szubin and Eric Columbus were walking with their wives and kids a few hours before when they saw a duck and her five ducklings walking down a city sidewalk when suddenly the ducks decided to walk in the middle of the road.

Fearing the worst, Adam and Eric starting shepherding the ducks to the park, this park, that was only a few blocks away. The trickiest part was when they had to cross DC’s busy 16th Street. But Adam and Eric went right into traffic, hands up, and stopped the cars in order to let the mother duck and her five ducklings cross safely. Finally, they ended up in the park near the big pond/wading pool. But…

duck men

Adam Szubin (l) and Eric Columbus (r), duck whisperers.

Now there was another problem. The mother duck kept jumping on the ledge of the pool, calling for her ducklings to join her, but the jump was too great. The ducklings would run back and forth, trying to figure out where their mom was, unable to reach her. So the guys ran home, got two big planks, and put them by the pond, hoping the ducklings would use them to get up. That’s when I arrived on the scene with my dog, Sasha.

sasha and mom duck 1

Sasha and mother duck, mesmerized by each other.

What happened next was that the mom jumped back on the edge of a smaller wading pool, jumped in, and ducklings went crazy. In their confusion, they started to run away, in the wrong direction, and the guys ran after them. After about ten minutes, the guys were able to corral the ducklings back to where mom was still playing in the wading pool.

Mom then flew across our heads to the larger pond. The ducklings again when nuts, and finally mom flew back down to the ground where we were all standing. A crowd had gathered at this point. In the video, you’ll see one of the ducklings keep throwing himself against the outside wall of the pond, trying to jump up the 18 inch rise.

mom ducks 2

Momma duck decided to go into the larger pond this time, again the ducklings went nuts, but this time Adam and Eric were able to corral the ducklings to head up the ramp and into the pond. But then they noticed, one duckling missed the ramp. The next 5 minutes was spent trying to corral this little guy up the ramp while momma duck couldn’t have cared less – she had 4 out of 5 and she was happy, and just sailed off with 4/5 of her brood.

Finally, Adam and Eric were able to quickly scoop up duckling number five, get him into the water, where he immediately swam towards mom and his siblings, and the duck family was united again.

IMG_1202

 

Oops, the video was private for a moment there – it’s public now!


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • cole3244

    that’s good to know, i obviously read her wrong, and she is fortunate to have a good man like that and he her as well.

  • BrunettehsefanJ

    No sarcasm there. I know the wife — she’s got a soft side (as well as a tough one)!

  • rotfl!!!!!

  • Just pretend it’s scrapple.

  • cole3244

    hey i was being nice, i point out to people as a vegan that all creatures value their lives as much as humans do no matter how insignificant they may seem to us, but that’s just me.

  • paulabflat

    make way for ducklings!

  • Be nice :) This is a duck post, let’s take people at their words and enjoy the cute fuzzy baby animals :)

  • cole3244

    a little sarcasm from the wife me thinks, she should be thankful she has a man as compassionate as that and not an unfeeling jerk, imo.

  • Moderator3

    I have a life.

  • emjayay

    They have to eat though. Not sure the pool is natural enough to support food species. To a duck it obviously looked good, but maybe they aren’t that bright.

  • emjayay

    Duckies aren’t kitties. And while the human smell hypothesis may be true about some “higher” and more scent-oriented animals, I don’t think a duck momma would care.

  • emjayay

    Why is it still there?

  • DRoseDARs

    I feel *dirty* that that spambot responded to my post. :(

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    “So the guys ran home, got two big planks, and put them by the pond,
    hoping the dogs would use them to get up.” Maybe you have doggies on the
    brain. I think you actually meant ducklings.

  • This is second-hand – but the concern was that if folks started touching things, the mom might get scared off and leave the chicks.

    And, it’s probably not bad advice for people to try not to touch the animals in any case. I made that mistake once with a feral kitten Chris, his wife and I were trying to save in a Paris underground garage. Not going to make that mistake again :) (the thing dug into my fingers so hard, I dropped it – my finger still hurts from time to time, and it’s been a year!)

  • DRoseDARs

    Momma duck wouldn’t be thrilled Humans were touching her babies certainly, but if the Park Service is promulgating the notion that she would reject her babies because Humans touched them, then they need to re-evaluate how they train their officers.

  • LOL Fair enough ;) I had the impression that one of the husband’s seemed rather intent on sharing the video to prove to the Mrs. that he hadn’t just wasted 3 hours ;)

  • Well it’s a myth that was perpetuated yesterday by either animal control or the Park Service, because someone called and was told not to dare try to pick anything up, lest it scare the mom away.

  • NS

    One of the wives here – for the record, we were there and super supportive (and, umm, perhaps a bit too emotionally invested) for all the street-crossings and early efforts at setting up ramps! The only reason we left was because we had to take our own respective little ducklings home to dinner and bed. My awesome husband can stay out late saving baby animals any night of the week…

  • DRoseDARs

    Could have saved everyone time and just scooped up the ducklings with their hands. It’s a myth that birds will reject their children just because you put your damned dirty ape hands on them; most birds can’t even smell Humans.

  • That was one concern. I believe they put the planks back in the water so they could get out if need be. But I suspect they’ll be fine there. It’s cloudy and raining here this week, so they should be fine, wont get too hot.

  • She’s funny. She hates squirrels. And will ever go after birds if they get too close. But she LOVES cats, is just fascinated by them – gets wild wagging tail when she sees a cat. And for some reason, she’s intrigued by the ducks in the pond – likes to jump up to see them every time we go to the park, but doesn’t treat them as prey for some reason.

  • Yeah someone else had called either animal control or the park service and they told them to be careful not to scare the mother away, lest she just abandon them all together. But the guys were really nice – I think their wives were a little less understanding of their 3 hour commitment to protecting the ducklings ;-)

  • cole3244

    kudos to two nice guys and mommy duck needs a course in parenting.

  • keirmeister

    A little reminder that humans can really be awesome!

    Kudos to Sasha, btw. My cat would have murdered them all.

  • rpiper

    Will they be able to get back out of the pool?

  • Vicky

    Aww!

  • Oops! Thanks, just corrected it :) And yeah, I like to do something lighter on the weekends. It’s a nice diversion for us too.

  • emjayay

    “So the guys ran home, got two big planks, and put them by the pond, hoping the dogs would use them to get up.” Maybe you have doggies on the brain. I think you actually meant ducklings.

    Anyway, love the food and animal diversions on this blog.

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