On any given day, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) treats 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater and provides more than a billion gallons of clean drinking water in the Big Apple. But amidst that massive demand, a couple of DEP workers didn’t mind stopping recently to lend a helping hand to some of the city’s smallest residents.
“Me and my coworkers were flagged down by the NYPD and FDNY,” DEP worker Joe Maresca explains. “We were informed that there were ducklings stuck in a catch basis along with a frantic and confused mother duck. We were happy to help and removed the grate and retrieved the ducklings for the authorities to reunite them with their mom.”
Every spring the fallen duckling syndrome unfolds over and over again in cities, suburbs and rural areas. In only a handful of cases, help arrives in time to save the birds. Animal welfare groups have long wrestled with the best way to prevent these accidents and there has been discussion of a seasonal solution to prevent these tragedies during ‘baby season’ when ducklings, kittens and other small animal offspring are at greatest risk of falling through. While the drains must remain open to catch storm water, some have suggested the use of screens during certain seasons to protect wildlife. Unfortunately, the cost of such a solution and the work to maintain them have been prohibitive.
Mother ducks are often very good at sounding the alarm when their ducklings are in distress, but it’s always a good idea for residents to keep an eye on catch basins in areas frequented by wildlife.
To enjoy more happy endings for animals or to share one of your own, visit the Harmony Fund website.