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Nearly one year ago to the day, I brought you the story of the Boston Police Department’s rescuing “an extremely large, slighting intimidating, and quite beautiful, male peacock.” The story was notable not only for the rescue and for the fact that adding “male” to “peacock” is redundant, but also because the Boston Police resolved the blue-bird standoff creatively. One of the officers played a peacock mating call on his phone – which lured the avian into a fenced-in-yard. Today, I bring to a story a bit closer to home for The New Leaf Journal – the New York Police Department’s (NYPD’s) rescue of a duck family.

"Mallard with Ducklings" by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0
Not the duck family in question (see New York Post article for that): “Mallard with Ducklings” by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region is marked with CC PDM 1.0

A Duck Family in Midtown Manhattan

While there are plenty of ducks in Central Park, there are far fewer ducks – let alone entire duck families – wandering the congested streets of Midtown Manhattan. The New York Post reported that police officers were called to the scene on the morning of May 9, 2021, when a mother duck, followed by a line of ducklings, were seen on East 69th Street after crossing Lexington Avenue – “more than three busy animals from the park.” It was to the duck family’s good fortune that David Barrett, the founder of Manhattan Bird Alert, happened across them and expeditiously notified the police.

The Police Reason With Mother Duck

Of course, finding the duck and ducklings is only one part of the rescue mission. As we learned with the Boston peacock last year, one must also corral the lost birds and take them from point A to point B. Police had little difficulty putting the nine ducklings into a carrier and putting the carrier in the squad car. The responding officers initially planned to put the mother duck in the squad car with the babies, assuming that she would fly into the back of the car to be with them. A change in plan was called for when the mother duck proved to be “less than cooperative.”

Much like the Boston Police in 2020, the NYPD officers were called upon to be creative. They delivered. The New York Post quoted Mr. Barrett, who was there to chronicle the proceedings:

The solution they came up with – which I think was a brilliant one – was not to wait for the mother to fly into the police car, which it didn’t seem to want to do, but to take the carrier outside of the car and carry it into Central Park and let the mother follow along. That worked out very well.

David Barrett

Thus, a police officer, carrying the duckings in a carrier, walked to Central Park, followed by the mother duck.

Additional Information About Ducks Wandering Around Manhattan

There is an age old question: Whyever did the duck (family) cross the road?

Mr. Barrett opined that it is unusual, albeit not unprecedented, to find Central Park ducks wandering around the busy streets of Manhattan:

They generally want to stay in water. They are not keen on wandering outside of good habitats. But, you know, ducks do crazy things sometimes. And that’s what happened.

David Barrett

The New York Post noted that a duck family was found wandering around Morningside Park on Manhattan’s West Side last year.

While the duck family was lucky to have not been involved in any traffic incidents while crossing multiple busy avenues, Mr. Barrett noted that dogs could have presented a danger on the sidewalks. The Post reported that it was unclear how long the duck family had been separated from the park, but it is certainly a good thing that Mr. Barrett came across it.