by Estelle Bruno

Every summer, I hear the quacking of a duck beneath my window,

under a large bush.  After a week or so the quacking stops.

But this summer was  different, after 16 years of gigantic tree growth and

bushes so tall they reach my windows.

The owner of this apartment complex decided to rectify all the growth and

hired a crew to chop and cut down all this nasty overgrowth.  I thought, fine.

About time.


But in spite of all the chopping and hammering noise, I suddenly began to hear

a quacking under my window.  I ran out to look and there she was, this beautiful

duck with her 4 beautiful babies, under my bush.


I ran to the noisy crew and told them they were frightening the mother and her

babies.  They promised they wouldn't go near the bush until she delivered her



Each day, I broke up pieces of bread and put a pan of water under  the “mother


Suddenly I saw only the mother duck, quacking nervously.  I searched for the

babies, but they were no where to be seen.  I called to one of the workmen and

asked him if he saw the babies. He walked me a short distance away from the

mother and he knelt down on the ground and put his ear over the sewer grate

which had holes all over the top. In his accent, he said look there's the mother

duck and pointed down over the sewer. 

I became panicked when I realized he was telling me the babies were down in

the sewer.  The noise of all the machinery must have frightened them.  Mother

duck was distraught, she kept quacking and looking  at the grate. 

I ran inside, grabbed my cell phone and called the fire department which was a

block away.  They said no, no, they couldn't come.


After trying another fire department, I got the same response.  Desperately I

dialed 911 and managed to get a woman with a heart.  I told her if she didn't

send someone to rescue these babies, I'm going to drop dead right on this spot.


Within five minutes a gigantic police van pulled into my street.  Two wonderful

policemen managed  to lift the heavy iron grate off the sewer.  They had a pole

with a net on the bottom, the kind fishermen use to pull up crabs.  With a

flashlight they kept trying to look into that black sewer hole, and finally managed

to see one of the little baby ducks.  They lifted it out and brought it to the

mother duck.  At least she has one, I thought sadly. 


When I got in touch with the wild life society, and they told me to stop feeding

the ducks or they would never leave, and never learn to fend for themselves. 


After three days, the mother and lone duck were gone.  The sewers run across

the highway to the golf course a block away.  My hope is that the other three

crossed the sewer and wound up at that golf course which has a pond.  Where 

perhaps they were re united with their mother.