A South Philadelphia couple took some time out of their day to make way for ducklings on Monday, guiding a family of waterfowl waddling through the streets out of harm's way.
Danielle McCloskey said she was at home with her husband when a neighbor knocked on their door to alert them that something unusual was happening outside.
“He said to me, ‘Danielle you need to see this!" she said. "There are ducks walking along our street!’”
Sure enough, what appeared to be a mama duck and her nine ducklings were trotting along the 2400 block of Juniper Street. Knowing the family faced the danger of South Philly traffic, McCloskey, her husband and her neighbor took action.
“I knew I had to get them somewhere safe since they were in the middle of a tiny street,” McCloskey, a self-described animal lover, said. “I figured if we got them to the park that’s close to us, they would be safer.”
The couple, who say they don't go out of the house much because of disabilities, and neighbor ran into the street and began to guide them towards the park. The journey proved to be a bit more difficult than expected. At various points, the ducks gathered under parked cars to get out of the blazing sun or made sharp turns to beeline toward heavy traffic.
The trio steered the ducks up the 2600 block of Juniper towards the nearby park, throwing pieces of bread to lure the ducklings out from under a car at one point.
“The little babies were going for it but they were basically doing whatever the mother was doing," McCloskey said. "She was very protective of them.”
As the group approached oncoming traffic on Oregon Avenue, another neighbor joined them and used a pink umbrella to direct traffic so the ducks could cross safely. Even once they got to the park's edge, McCloskey and the others had to navigate getting the ducks over a foot-high ledge. They initially planned to guide the group around the wall, but that plan was scuttled when a passerby inadvertently startled the ducklings.
“Some guy comes along, oblivious to what we were doing and he sort of sits down on the ledge.” McCloskey said. “He scared the mother by accident and the mother flew up over the ledge into the park. Now the babies are trying to get to her and they’re scrambling, trying to get up this wall!”
With few other options left, McCloskey and one of her neighbors scooped up the ducklings and gently tossed them into the park, reuniting them with their mother. McCloskey’s daughter Maria told NBC10 that she later learned that the mother and ducklings were captured and transported to a lake at another park.
Even with the obstacles, McCloskey said she was happy to get the chance to help.
“We’re animal lovers,” McCloskey said. “We have kitty cats and we just love any animal. It was an amazing feeling.”