Eight baby ducklings are safely recovering at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) after a dramatic rescue this past Monday from a storm drain in San Mateo. The ducklings were found trapped in mud under a large storm grate at the bottom of a concrete drainage ditch on the Poplar Avenue exit of Southbound 101.
“We were alerted to the plight of the ducklings by a motorist who saw a mother duck pacing around the area. The driver pulled over and spotted the ducklings trapped in the mud at the bottom of the ditch and called us,” said PHS/SPCA’s Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox. “Our rescue staff was able to save the ducklings, but unfortunately the mother duck had flown away and didn’t return, so we brought the abandoned ducklings to our Wildlife Care Center.”
Mother ducks can be capricious and will abandon their ducklings if they become scared or spooked, resulting in ducklings in need of human intervention to survive. Wild ducklings are extremely vulnerable to predators and drowning without the protection of their mother.
“After the ducklings had been rescued, our staff waited to see if the mother duck would return, but unfortunately she did not,” according to Tarbox. “The ducklings would not have survived on their own in the wild. Once they are older and self-sufficient, we will return them to the wild.”
The eight ducklings rescued on April 16 have since been joined with other ducklings at PHS/SPCA’s Wildlife Care Center and are doing well. PHS/SPCA’s Wildlife Care Center successfully rehabilitates 1,200 to 1,400 animals each year and is funded entirely by donations.