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Coquitlam city worker applies hockey stick and 'patience' to reunite family of wood ducks

Coquitlam city worker reunites a family of nine ducks after finding them stuck in a pipe in the back yard of her Anmore home
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A volunteer with the Wildlife Rescue Association helps rescue ducklings stuck in a pipe on an Anmore property.

Ducklings in the Tri-Cities continue to get into scrapes.

This time, a brood in Anmore got trapped in a pipe with no way out.

Fortunately, for the fluffy little wood ducks, they found themselves on the property of Caresse Selk, the city of Coquitlam’s environmental projects manager.

Selk spotted seven ducklings crammed into an old pipe on her property.

“Momma duck and an eighth sibling fled as soon as I approached the pipe. Getting them out was an exercise in patience,” Selk wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday (June 10).

“A steady hand and a soup ladle duct-taped to a hockey stick eventually did the trick.”

However, keeping the ducklings contained so they could be transported to the Wildlife Rescue Association in Burnaby was another challenge.

“I found out the hard way that the one-inch openings in a cat kennel are too big to contain baby ducklings. My volunteer firefighter neighbour and I had to race around the neighbourhood to re-catch them from various backyards. One got lost in the process and we were down to only six ducklings,” Selk further writes.

When the rescue centre volunteer arrived, Selk decided to make one last dash for a small local pond in search of the mother duck. It turned out she was there and when she saw her brood started calling out loudly to them.

The female wood duck also had three of the siblings with her, setting the stage for a huge family reunion.

“I opened up the kennel and they all launched themselves towards mom. Last I saw, mom and her nine babies were safe and swimming together.” 

The pipe is now capped off and Selk is thanking her cat, Chester, for letting her know something was wrong.

Now, that isn’t the end of the story for the mother duck and her brood.

In a message to Tri-City News, Selk said members of Anmore’s public works crew had to rescue the ducks again — this time whisking them to safety into a backyard after they almost got “squished” by a car on Sunnyside Road. 

This has been a spring of scrapes for ducklings in the Tri-Cities.

On May 11, a mother and her family of ducklings found themselves stranded on a sea of blacktop at Coquitlam Centre mall; it took an hour for police and volunteers to get them safely to Lafarge Lake using pizza crusts as a lure.

And in Port Coquitlam, the city’s public works department extracted several ducklings out of a drain pipe, using YouTube videos of duckling sounds to attract the little creatures.

In recent months, the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of injured and weakened birds being brought to their rehabilitation centre in Burnaby. 

Most of the tiny creatures are from nests found in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.

In many cases, the nests have been dislodged although, occasionally, fledgling birds are brought in if they are injured and found on the ground.

If you have disturbed a nest or need help with an abandoned bird, call the rescue hotline at 604-526-7275