The other night, we were on our way to Sublime, a vegan restaurant Shannon had wanted to try out. We had to drop off Shannon's Rx for steroids (for sunburn) at the Walgreens on Federal & 26th (for you locals - between commercial & sunrise) to pick up after we ate. (For you non-locals, federal is one of our major roadways.)
As Balu pulled into 26th, we noticed a family of ducks on the other side of the street, taking up one of the two lanes of west-bound traffic. Luckily, people were swerving into the other lane to avoid them, but the mama and her eight baby ducks seemed intent on crossing over and there was NO WAY they were going to get across in one piece. Or nine.
I stepped out into the road to stop the traffic. One guy whizzed by me. The next car stopped. They honked at me, probably confused as to what I was doing. Then I ushered the ducks across the street and, as the previously stopped-in-the-name-of-ducks SUV driver drove by, she yelled, "Thank you!"
So now we're on the other side of the road and I'm wondering where the heck the ducks are planning on going from here. I ran down the street and saw that the water accessible there was NOT accessible to non-flying baby ducks; there was a ten-foot drop-off. Busy roads on all sides.
The mama and baby sucks had settled in by an empty swimming pool, so we kept our distance from them while Balu scouted the neighborhood in the Volvo for bodies of water - where did they come from? Where were they going? Balu found nothing, even with the help of a map.
After standing there for a few minutes, thinking carefully and sighing deeply, I finally said, "Okay, let's catch 'em." Dreadfully.
I had an idea of where they could go - my old office's corporate park had a nice little pond where I spent many relaxing lunch hours, breaking bread with the local ibises, softshells, and, yes, muscovy ducks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscovy_Duck
I failed horribly at my first attempt to catch the mamaduck. She flew into an empty swimming pool, then used the stairs to hop back out, which was entirely too amusing. I knew she wouldn't go too far, on account of her babies, and sure enough, she stuck around, despite my advances.
I caught her on the second or so try, horrified that I'd hurt her delicate wings or neck. We were in a backyard, by this time, and I was straddled over the mamaduck on the grass. Balu and Shannon went to work catching the baby ducks, ushering them over to the fence, where they were forced to run by me and I was able to pluck them up one-handed, the other hand on the mamaduck. The babies went into a big box that I think Balu got at Walgreens. For a minute, one of the babies went through a hole in the fence and I was TERRIFIED we had f'd up. Balu and Shannon went to work to catch it in the near-dark and were successful, thank god.
It's funny what a complete bitch drill sergeant I become in situations like this. I was barking orders out, trying my best to get Shannon and Balu to be good border collies, herding the ducks away from the gaps in the fence and exits from the yard. I trust their judgment and all, but in situations like this, being a "backseat driver" to make SURE things are going as you think they should is better - I'd rather offend someone than not offer a problem I foresee. I know how people sometimes hurt things they're trying to help, like all the folks that take in baby birds they find rather than leaving them to the mama birds, who are most likely keeping a watchful eye in a tree nearby.
At one point, someone who lived in the apartment complex came out to investigate what we were doing. "That duck belongs to the guy in apartment 1," he said. I sat there, still straddling mamaduck, and pondered this. "She's a muscovy duck. There's no water here. They were in the road and are lucky they didn't get hurt." A muscovy duck, for chrissake! The guy was being argumentative and annoying, so I tuned him out. At one point, Balu was helping me and the guy started in. When Balu turned to face him, I shouted, "Don't worry about the FUCKING GUY! WORRY ABOUT THE DUCKS!" I was just so terrified something would go wrong and we would leave the ducks worse off than we found them. That is just not acceptable. And poor Shannon. "RUN, SHANNON! GO THE OTHER WAY! IT'S GETTING AWAY FROM YOU!" She flipped me off a few times, but luckily I was too busy to notice. :)
After a nice no-a/c, windows-rolled up ride across town with a box of baby ducks in the back and a struggling mamaduck on my lap, we were able to let them go in a nice, quiet corporate park. I hated to let them out at night, but hoped they'd hunker down somewhere safe and be able to explore their new digs the next day.
Of course, they went straight for the road, which receives hotel & Bennigans-turnaround traffic, so we had to re-usher them to the pond. By the time we left, I was confident we had done as much as we could've.
We went back to the Walgreens to retrieve my shoes, which I had kicked off before I snuck up on the mama, and still made dinner at Sublime! What a fun hour!