ROTTERDAM — A perceptive Rotterdam couple and pair of helpful Rotterdam Water Department workers with perfect timing worked together Thursday morning to rescue a mother duck’s eight little ducklings from a storm drain.
In an operation captured on video and posted to Facebook Thursday afternoon, the two Water Department workers are seen pulling the ducklings out of the drain one-by-one –the ducklings are seen scurrying over to their determined mother duck just as quick.
Rotterdam resident Nick Vaccaro discovered the ducklings with his wife Jodi and he posted the video of the duckling rescue to Facebook hours later. By Friday afternoon, the video had garnered nearly 100,000 views and had been shared more than 5,000 times.
Through much of the video, town Water Department Supervisor Matt Lupi is seen lying down at the storm drain as he uses an aquarium net provided by the Vaccaros to pull each little duck to safety. One of Lupi’s workers, Mike Colarossi, is also helping.
When the rescue operation was complete, all eight little ducks had found their way to their mother and were back on their way.
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“It’s pretty cool how it happened,” Nick Vaccaro said, “especially with all the doom and gloom in the world today.”
The baby ducks are believed to have been down in the storm drain for some time. Vaccaro recalled first noticing something was odd Wednesday, as he saw the mother duck in his yard, but he didn’t understand yet why.
Then, Thursday morning, he saw her out there again. She was feet away from him and she remained there. He left for work, but it soon dawned on him what had happened. He stopped, called his wife and asked her to go out and check the drain.
She did and called back: There were baby ducks in there and they were squawking for their mother.
He returned home and the two tried to figure out what to do. With the COVID-19 shutdown, they weren’t sure if they could get ahold of anyone.
They tried a couple numbers, but, it turned out, they didn’t need to call anyone. They just had to wait a few minutes.
Down the street came a town of Rotterdam truck driven by Lupi. The Vaccaros started waiving their hands in the road to flag him down.
Lupi told The Daily Gazette later he’d been on his way to inspect a job at Schalmont schools when the couple flagged him down. His first thought was they might have an issue with the road. Instead, they quickly relayed the situation.
Lupi immediately went to get one of his workers, Colarossi, and they returned and set to work.
“I knew I had to get them out,” Lupi said. “I just felt horrible. I saw the mom sitting there looking at me and I knew that she knew I was there to help. I just knew it.”
The video shows Lupi and Colarossi lift the storm grate as Jodi Vaccaro offers tools they had gathered for the rescue. Lupi scoops up the ducklings one by one with the aquarium net, which turned out to be perfect for the job.
“Yes! Aww, they’re so cute,” Jodi Vaccaro says after the first duckling is freed.
By the time the third duckling was out, the mother duck apparently realized exactly what’s happening, comes closer and is reunited with her little ones.
Most of the freed ducklings headed straight for their mother. A couple, though, needed some gentle directing. Soon, all eight were with their mom.
Her little ducks now safely trailing behind her, the reunited family went on their way.
It’s not clear how the ducklings ended up in the drain or where they came from, although the street is in a wooded area with detention ponds nearby.
The video posted to Facebook: