A Duck Story


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Something really cute happened in downtown San Antonio this week. Michael
> R. is an accounting clerk at Frost Bank and works there in a second story
> office. Several weeks ago, he watched a mother duck choose the concrete
> awning outside his window as the unlikely place to build a nest above the
> sidewalk. The mallard laid ten eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter
> that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She dutifully kept the eggs warm
> for weeks, and Monday afternoon all of her ten ducklings hatched.
> Michael worried all night how the momma duck was going to get those babies
> safely off their perch in a busy, downtown, urban environment to take to
> water, which typically happens in the first 48 hours of a duck hatching.
> Tuesday morning, Michael watched the mother duck encourage her babies to
> the edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off.
> Office work came to a standstill as everyone gathered to watch.
>> The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies above. In
> disbelief Michael watched as the first fuzzy newborn trustingly toddled to
> the edge and astonishingly leapt into thin air, crashing onto the cement
> below. Michael couldn't stand to watch this risky effort nine more times!
> He dashed out of his office and ran down the stairs to the sidewalk where
> the first obedient duckling, near its mother, was resting in a stupor
> after the near-fatal fall. Michael stood out of sight under the
> awning-planter, ready to help.
> As the second one took the plunge, Michael jumped forward and caught it
> with his bare hands before it hit the concrete. Safe and sound, he set it
> down it by its momma and the other stunned sibling, still recovering from
> that painful leap. (The momma must have sensed that Michael was trying to
> help her babies.)
One by one the babies continued to jump. Each time Michael hid under the
> awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made its free
> fall. At the scene the busy downtown sidewalk traffic came to a
> standstill. Time after time, Michael was able to catch the remaining
> eight and set them by their approving mother.
At this point Michael realized the duck family had only made part of its
> dangerous journey. They had two full blocks to walk across traffic,
> crosswalks, curbs and past pedestrians to get to the closest open water,
> the San Antonio River, site of the famed "River Walk." The onlooking
> office secretaries and several San Antonio police officers joined in. An
> empty copy-paper box was brought to collect the babies. They carefully
> corralled them, with the mother's approval, and loaded them in the
> container. Michael held the box low enough for the mom to see her brood.
> He then slowly navigated through the downtown streets toward the San
> Antonio River. The mother waddled behind and kept her babies in sight, all
> the way.
As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed him, jumping in
> the river and quacking loudly. At the water's edge, Michael tipped the box
> and helped shepherd the babies toward the water and to the waiting mother
> after their adventurous ride
All ten darling ducklings safely made it into the water and paddled up
> snugly to momma. Michael said the mom swam in circles, looking back toward
> the beaming bank bookkeeper, and proudly quacking.
At last, all present and accounted for: "We're all together again. We're
> here! We're here!"
And here's a family portrait before they head outward to further
> adventures...
Like all of us in the big times of our life, they never could have made it
> alone without lots of helping hands. I think it gives the name of San
> Antonio's famous "River Walk" a whole new meaning!


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