Last Friday morning began as routinely as ever in the City of Wetumpka administration building. In the public works department, that meant taking complaints.
Suddenly, Lynn Weldon looked at her phone and noticed not so much a complaint as a concern — someone made a Facebook post about three ducklings falling into a storm drain at Gold Star Park and the mother’s feathers were ruffled.
“We were having coffee about 9:30 (a.m.) and I noticed a post that some ducklings had gone down in a storm drain at the park,” said Weldon, the city’s economic development director. “A man and his son were there and the little boy heard them in the drain.”
Weldon and city clerk Tiffany Robinson made Chappell Brown of the public works department aware of the situation.
“Within five minutes the phones started ringing about the ducks,” Weldon said. “Other parents and children at the park had heard them in the drain.”
Brown called others at the public works department to meet him at the park to rescue the ducklings.
“He took a Gator and hooked a chain to it and took the lid off the storm drain,” said Weldon, who went to the park with Robinson. “There were four ducklings; three were in the drain and the mama had the other one. She had that one tucked under her. Her head was going back and forth and she was squawking. Chappell got the first two out. We laid them on the ground and they ran to their mama. The third one wanted to be difficult but Chappell finally got him out.”
Brown said he and Chris Schaffer of the public works department had to work extra to extract the third one.
“The first two I pulled out were easy,” Brown said. “They were huddled over in a corner. The third one ran down another pipe and Chris had to go open another drain cover so we could get him. Chris made some noise and scared him back toward me.”
Brown said crews had noticed the mother duck sitting on her nest in a flower bed at the park.
“We have been keeping our eyes on them because we saw the eggs in our flower bed,” he said. “We haven’t planted anything because she was sitting on the nest. It was a good feeling seeing them reunited with their mama. She was real protective of them.”
Brown said the public works department put chicken wire around the grate to keep ducklings from falling in again.
“But if it happens again we’ll do it again. That’s what we do, I guess,” he said with a laugh.
The man who made the original post brought his son back so he could see the ducklings being rescued and it had reached 9,300 people by mid-afternoon Friday, Weldon said.