Village Workers Rescue Ducklings

Vicksburg employees pulled three ducklings to safety: From left, they’re Village Manager Jim Mallery, DPW worker Matt Hynes, DPW Director Randy Schippers, standing in the drain, and Police Officer Mark Peterson.

By Jef Rietsma

A trio of waterfowl nesting in a Vicksburg neighborhood proved that “lucky duck” is more than just an idiom.

Around 11 a.m. May 18, Trillium Plat resident Denny Olson noticed a duck and what appeared to be at least five ducklings crowded around a storm drain on the west side of Trillium Boulevard. Olson said he could tell something was amiss and quickly found some of the ducklings had fallen through the grating.

Olson quickly called Village Manager Jim Mallery, who summoned public works employees Randy Schippers and Matt Hynes and Vicksburg Police Officer Mark Peterson. Ultimately, it was Schippers who climbed down the drain and rescued what turned out to be three ducklings.

With illumination from a flashlight provided by Peterson, Schippers had little trouble grabbing the first two, whose chirping kept the attention of the anxious mother duck, positioned a comfortable distance away. One after the other, Mallery ran the rescued ducklings to the yard in which the family had apparently made its home behind a row of bushes.

The third duckling, however, was more elusive. Mallery likened it to a running back on a football team.

“Not only is it quick, but it can jump,” Mallery said. “Randy had some trouble getting it, it took a little bit but after a while, he managed to catch it.”

As he did with the other ducklings, Mallery hurriedly escorted the chirping baby to the vicinity of its mom. The duckling appeared disoriented at first but quickly found its direction after hearing a few quacks from mom.

Mallery said he’s glad the village was in a position to step in and help with what could have been a heartbreaking conclusion.

“Last Sunday, South Kalamazoo County Fire members helped a bird that somehow got entangled in wires downtown. Today we were able to help a mama duck and three of her ducklings,” Mallery said. “And how lucky we were to be able to see the reaction from the mama duck who, I’m sure, is educating and lecturing her children well on the dangers of storm-sewer grates.”

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