AMHERST – Eight ducklings have taken up a temporary residence at a local veterinary clinic, after being rescued from a busy parking lot.
Separated from their mother, the birds were recovered and taken to the clinic Thursday afternoon from one of the cart corrals in front of the Sobeys store on South Albion Street.
Const. Michelle Harrison was arriving at the mall for another purpose when someone flagged her down, reporting concerns about the safety of the animals. Const. Tasha Estabrooks arrived soon afterward.
“When I arrived, they were all corralled in the cart corral, huddled under a cart,” said Estabrooks.
At that time, the mother was still with the ducklings, and an effort was made to capture the ducks and move them to a safer area. Unfortunately, the frightened mother duck broke loose and flew away.
By that time, Eric Sparling from the Amherst Veterinary Clinic had turned up to offer his help. With help from the police officers and several local bystanders, he was able to safely capture all eight of the ducklings and take them to the clinic.
“If we were caught on video running across the parking lot, trying to save these little guys, it would look so funny,” said Estabrooks. “I like happy endings like this.”
With advice from Shur-Gain Feeds N’ Needs, Sparling was able to gather a tub, food and a heat lamp for the ducklings. His wife, veterinarian Tanya Sparling, said they would seek further direction from the department of natural resources.
The age and species of the ducklings had yet to be confirmed, but were reported to be in good health, as they chirped and skipped around their new home. Sparling said it is not the first time they have raised and released wild animals at the clinic, and said she was confident they could be hand-raised safely.
“Obviously it would be preferred if they were with their mother, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option,” she said. “So we will definitely do everything we can to keep them healthy and raise them well.”