Animal

Ducklings born in hanging basket make daring 5ft leap to safety


The young family have now moved on to swimming lessons after flying practice produced mixed results (Picture: SWNS)

Footage has emerged of 10 plucky ducklings taking some rather undignified leaps of faith from their hanging-basket nest to freedom.

With the help of a homemade crash mat, the flying fluff balls came down to earth largely unscathed, before waddling on to be reunited with their new family.

Office workers watched in delight as the young ducks tentatively followed their mum out of the flower basket to complete a five-week journey from egg to local pond, via a five-foot ordeal.

Before Wednesday’s big leap, staff at Essex van conversion company Fleetshields had returned following the Easter weekend to find one of their baskets empty of flowers – and instead occupied by a few eggs.

Over the next few days, the Colchester team excitedly observed a mallard duck lay more eggs in the wall-mounted safe haven and incubate them for just over three weeks.

10 birds then hatched on Monday, May 10.

Two days later, their mum flew out, leaving her flightless offspring little choice but to make a less dignified exit.

Concerned about the next step in the tiny animals’ lives, the office team decided to create a hay-stuffed safety mat to soften their inevitably bumpy landings.

Ducklings make 5ft leap of faith after being born in a hanging basket

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And they were delighted to watch all of the youngsters tumble, flip and belly flop onto the cushioning device, as the family’s first flying session produced mixed results.

One after another, they plummeted five feet to the ground below, with varying degrees of success, to the sound of their siblings’ nervous quacking.

Fleetshields’ operations director David Waterman, 49, explained: ‘It was fantastic to watch. It was about 30 minutes of absolute joy as they all leapt from the nest.

‘We’d set up wildlife cameras outside to keep an eye on the mother duck as she incubated her eggs – so we all feel a bit like we’ve become wildlife experts over the past few weeks.

‘It’s been a magical five weeks, getting to see the process from the beginning.’

The plucky ducklings took on the five-foot leap as their mum, siblings and some lucky office workers watched on (Picture: SWNS)
Ten ducklings hatched and then made it to the ground (Picture: SWNS)

David added that when they first peered into the basket and saw the eggs, they did not realise what they were looking at.

He said: ‘They were really small, and they looked a bit like pebbles at first.

‘When we realised they were eggs, we did a bit of Googling and thought they might have been laid by a mallard duck.

‘Then over the next few days, we saw her keep coming back to the nest, and lay a couple more eggs each time.’

He explained that the mum had picked a clever spot to avoid predators, as she could tuck herself right down inside the basket and out of sight.

The mallard mum appeared to back safety from predators over dignified exits in her choice of nest (Picture: SWNS)
The ducklings are now doing swimmingly in a local pond (Picture: SWNS)

But there were concerns about her ducklings getting injured when they emerged, leading the group to offer the new family some landing support.

David continued: ‘All 10 of them jumped with no issue, and she waited patiently, and then rounded them all up and led them across the road to a nearby pond.

‘It was quite exciting – some of our staff followed behind to make sure they didn’t run into any trouble on the road, but it’s a very quiet industrial estate we work on, so they were fine.

‘Our office backs onto a golf course, so the ducks only had to go about 200 yards before they reached the pond. The mother duck knew exactly where she was going.’

David added that a couple of his team have been down to the pond to check on the ducklings – and they say the family are all getting on swimmingly.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.


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