Rescues Thirteen Baby Ducklings From Storm Drain in San Mateo

By Hope Bidegainberry on April 25, 2019

A dramatic rescue reunited thirteen baby ducklings with their mother yesterday after being trapped in a storm drain in San Mateo.  The rescue was a joint effort of the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) and the City of San Mateo Public Works.

“We received a call from a concerned resident who had seen the mother duck pacing near a storm strain on South Grant Street in San Mateo and could hear the baby ducklings trapped underneath the grate,” said PHS/SPCA’s Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox.  “Our rescue staff arrived, but were unable to remove the grate to reach the ducklings since it had been paved over.  We called the City of San Mateo Public Works department for assistance with the grate, and they ended up cutting one of the metal bars so we could maneuver a small net into the drain to rescue the ducklings.”

PHS/SPCA staff were able to scoop up the trapped ducklings in groups of two and three with the net bringing them to safety.  The rescue effort took more than an hour.

“Throughout the entire process, the mother duck stayed nearby.  Once we had all thirteen of the ducklings above ground, we checked them for injuries, and thankfully they were fine despite their ordeal,” according to Tarbox.  “We then moved the ducklings to an area away from the drain where the mother duck took back possession of her babies and led them into the safety of nearby bushes.”

PHS/SPCA’s Wildlife Care Center successfully rehabilitates 1,200 to 1,400 wild animals each year and is funded entirely by donations.



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