SPRINGFIELD — Springfield firefighters rescued eight ducklings from a storm drain on Springfield's southwest side Saturday morning.
The ducklings, along with another duckling rescued in a separate incident Saturday morning, were transferred to the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur, said Sangamon County Animal Control officer Buddy Blackmon.
The ducklings, pinned by Blackmon to be about two weeks old, appeared to be healthy, he added.
The call came into animal control around 10:30 a.m. A passerby heard the ducklings trapped in the storm drain in a parking lot on the southwest side of Staybridge Suites at Schooner Drive and Chuckwagon Drive and made the call.
The ducklings were about six about feet down from the parking lot surface, Blackmon said.
Some water had pooled at the bottom storm drain and the ducklings were swimming around, he added.
Blackmon said that when he initially responded, he could also hear the ducklings and the mother duck was standing around the storm drain.
Firefighters from Engine 3 responded, according to Battalion 2 Commander Mark Wright.
Blackmon said firefighters took a fishing net and taped it to a pole usually used to pull up drains to reach three ducklings.
A firefighter eventually had to go into the storm drain and caught two more of the ducklings with the net and used his bare hands to rescue the other three, according to Blackmon.
Blackmon said he put the ducklings into a carrier and set it in a field waiting 20 to 30 minutes for the mother to return.
"She didn't return, so I sent a message to the Raptor Center and (an official) said she would take them and make sure they got take care of, so they were transferred over to them," Blackmon said.
Wright said it appeared that the ducklings fell into the storm drain through the slots on the cover.
Blackmon said duckling rescues are "fairly common" in the spring.
According to online research, it usually takes 50 to 60 days before ducklings fledge and become independent.