A San Antonio Duck Story

A Duck Story from the Riverwalk in San  Antonio

Michael R. is an  accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works there in a  second story office.  Several weeks ago, he  watched a mother duck choose the concrete awning  outside his window as the unlikely place to build a  nest above the sidewalk. The mallard laid ten eggs in  a nest in the corner of the planter that is perched  over 10 feet in the air. She   dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks, and Monday  afternoon all of her ten ducklings  hatched.

Michael worried  all night how the momma duck was going to get those  babies safely off their perch in a busy, downtown,  urban environment to take to water, which typically  happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching.  Tuesday  morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her  babies to the edge of the perch with the intent to  show them how to jump off.  Office work came to a  standstill as everyone gathered to  watch.

The mother flew  down below and started quacking to her babies above.  In disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy  newborn trustingly toddled to the edge and  astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the  cement below. Michael couldn’t stand to watch this  risky effort nine more times!  He dashed out of  his office and ran down the stairs to the  sidewalk where the first obedient duckling, near its  mother, was resting in a stupor after  the near-fatal fall.  Michael stood out of sight  under the awning-planter, ready to  help.

As the second  one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught  it with his bare hands before it hit the  concrete. Safe and sound, he set it down it  by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still  recovering from that painful leap.  (The  momma must have sensed that Michael was trying to  help her  babies.)

One by one the  babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under  the awning just to reach out in the nick of time as  the duckling made its free fall.  At the scene  the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a  standstill.  Time after time, Michael was able to  catch the remaining eight and set them by their  approving  mother.

At this point  Michael realized the duck family had only made part of  its dangerous journey. They had two full blocks  to walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs  and past pedestrians to get to the closest open  water, the San Antonio   River, site of the  famed “River Walk.”  The onlooking office  secretaries and several San  Antonio police officers joined  in.  An empty copy-paper box was  brought to collect the babies. They carefully  corralled them, with the mother’s approval, and loaded  them in the container. Michael held the box low enough  for the mom to see her brood. He then slowly navigated  through the downtown streets toward the    San  Antonio River . The mother  waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all the  way.

As they reached  the river, the mother took over and passed him,  jumping in the river and quacking loudly. At the  water’s edge, Michael tipped the box and helped  shepherd the babies toward the water and to  the waiting mother after their adventurous  ride.

All ten darling  ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up  snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles,  looking back toward the beaming bank bookkeeper, and  proudly  quacking.

At last,  all present and accounted for: “We’re all together  again.  We’re here!  We’re  here!”

And here’s  a family portrait before they head outward to  further  adventures…

Like all of us  in the big times of our life, they never could have  made it alone without lots of helping hands.  I  think it gives the name of San  Antonio ’s famous “River Walk” a whole  new meaning!  Maybe you will want to share this  story with others.

Thanks to Kayla for passing this wonderful story on to me!

ASPCA 2008 Cat Photo Contest Winners

July 25, 2008 by Editor  
Filed under Darling Images, GALLERIES

Courtesy of the ASPCA

Smile—You’re On Candid Catera!

Announcing the winners of the third annual Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month Photo Contest

In honor of Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month this June, we asked you to catch your cat in the act—of being a cat! You know…yawning in the dog’s face, watching the faucet drip, chasing dust bunnies…whatever she does when she thinks no one’s looking. Our inbox was flooded with thousands of entries, leaving our judge, legendary musical artist Michael Feinstein, with the difficult task of selecting the best of the best. We are proud to salute the winners here.

Click on any photograph to enter the ASPCA site to see who the winner was!

Honorable Mentions

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