NORMAL — Thanks to the patient effort of Normal police officers, a tense family drama ended happily Thursday. Eight ducklings were fished out of a storm sewer and reunited with their obviously distraught parents.
“It’s a happy ending — and it’s a tight squeeze down there,” a slightly muddy Officer Mitchell Wilson said, pointing to a manhole cover along Northtown Road near Boulder Drive.
Passing pedestrians called police at 5:51 p.m. when they saw two distraught ducks near a storm drain and heard the frantic peeping coming up through the nearby manhole cover. After a check with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, police asked McLean County Animal Control for a net to try to fish out the youngsters.
Net in hand, Wilson climbed into the storm sewer about 7 p.m. with the help of Officer Melissa Zabukovec. With only his head and shoulders aboveground, he finally coaxed the little ones into his net.
Zabukovec then carried them to the edge of a farm field and released them. They huddled until their parents, who had been watching anxiously from a distance, flew back in.
The reunited family formed a line and waddled across Northtown, braving an oncoming car. After the little ones struggled to hop the curb, they headed over a berm to the safety of a pond.