Marlene Moodie heard a knock at the Stanwood Library's front door on June 22.
That's odd; people usually walk right in, the library circulation supervisor thought. The knocking persisted, so Moodie and coworker Vicky Beatty investigated. They found a duckling desperately jumping and tapping its beak on the door frame and window.
Nearby, the Mallard mama watched.
Moodie and Beatty looked further and found at least eight ducklings trapped in the access well that houses ventilation pipes and leads to the crawl space, Stanwood Library Manager Charles Pratt said.
Then a second mama Mallard scurried after her own ducklings.
“Marlene went outside and scooped the ducks out of the hole, but they went running in several different directions,” Pratt said. “The mama duck pursued some, but she wasn’t able to round them all up apparently because Marlene returned to the area later to check, and several of the ducklings had made it back into the same spot and became trapped again.”
Both mama Mallards disappeared.
Amid the duck drama, Pratt had a couple of one-on-one staff meetings. He took the meetings on foot for a walk-and-talk as they looked for the mother ducks, exploring the nearby ditch area of Heritage Park.
“We never saw the mama duck again after Marlene first helped her,” Pratt said.
Meanwhile, Moodie scooped four ducklings out from the crawlspace access well and took them to Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington. After Moodie left, Beatty heard “peep, peep, peep” coming from the air vent near her desk.
Pratt called City Hall to get reinforcements. A responder crawled under the building and rescued two more ducklings using a net.
“It was the end of my day by this point, and my wife and daughter came to pick me up, so the three of us made a second trip out to Sarvey to deliver the last two ducklings,” Pratt said.
After a week, Pratt checked in to see how the six orphan ducklings were doing. All was well. They are healthy and recovering in the waterfowl nursery.
“They will be with us for a few more weeks until they are released onto the pond we have on our property,” Jesse Murch of Sarvey Wildlife Care Center told Pratt by email. “They will stay there until they can fly away and migrate on their own.”
Pratt said he was grateful for the city’s speedy response and the care its employees showed.
“Our partners from the city were super quick to respond and stuck with it through several failed attempts to grab the little ducks before finally being successful,” Pratt said. “They did a great job saving the last two.”
Pratt also expressed his appreciation to his staff.
“Thanks to all of you for being such caring and compassionate folks. Y’all are a bunch of ‘good eggs.’”