Oak Bay Fire often says there’s no call too small and that was the case this morning when a firefighter rescued a brood of tiny ducklings trapped down a storm drain.
Dr. Daisy Dulay was walking to work around 6:20 a.m. when she was flagged down by an older woman, who pointed out a mother duck and one duckling circling around a storm drain near Cadboro Bay and Bee Street. They could see the ducklings in the water below but could not pry off the top of the drain.
Dulay called Oak Bay Fire and acting assistant chief Duane Adsett responded to the call, his last one after a night shift.
Adsett pried off the top of the drain and checked that there were no toxic gases present.
He could see seven ducklings swimming around in the water about a metre-and-a-half below. Adsett stuck his head and left arm into the hole to reach the ducklings, but they would dive under water and dodge his hand as soon as he tried to grab hold.
A neighbour across the street brought over a wicker basket, which Adsett used to scoop up the ducklings and reunite them with their mother. One of the ducklings died during the rescue.
“Once they hit the pavement they ran over to mom and they wandered off into the grass,” Adsett said.
Dulay took photos of the rescue, which have gone viral on social media after Oak Bay Fire shared them on Twitter.
Adsett said he’s been a firefighter for 18 years and has never had a call like this.
He’s sure his two kids, ages 12 and 11, will be excited to hear the story and see the news coverage.
In May 2015, a Saanich police officer rescued 11 ducklings, which fell down a storm drain along the Trans Canada Highway. In that case, the ducklings’ mother was struck by a passing car while the officer was tending to her young.
“They just follow mom and mom can walk across the drain and the babies can’t,” Adsett said.
As Adsett left the scene, he could see the mama duck sitting near a creek keeping the babies warm.