duckling rescue

A clutch of four ducklings, trapped in Regina's storm sewer system, were brought to safety by an enterprising family. (Dennis Dodds/Submitted to CBC)

Four ducklings trapped inside the storm sewer system in Regina were rescued by a quick thinking family who used a butterfly net attached to a hockey stick to retrieve the birds through the sewer grate.

"We saved a duck," one of the youngsters yelled enthusiastically as the first little bird was pulled through the grate.

"It's so cute," another chimed in.

The Dodds family saved the baby ducks Sunday afternoon when the birds were trapped in the storm sewer on Windsor Park Bay in Regina's east end.

'It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life.' - Ceiligh Dodds

Ceiligh Dodds, 15, saw the birds in the neighbourhood and — as she was watching them with a friend — witnessed them fall into a perilous plight.

"They were almost leaving ... to go to the lake," she said of the adult duck and more than a dozen babies. "The mom turned around and all the children tried to walk across the grate but four fell in."

Ceiligh said her initial reaction to the drama was emotional.

"I was terrified," she said. "It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life."

She raced home to tell her father what happened and Dennis Dodds, who peered through the grate and saw the birds swimming below, sprang into action.

"I felt so bad for them when they were cheep cheep cheeping," Dodds said. "There was no way they were going to get out of that sewer." 

Rescue recorded

With help and encouragement from Connor, 13, and Seamus, 11, the drama of the rescue was recorded.

"Guys, I'm holding two ducklings. This is all I've ever wanted," Ceiligh exclaimed on the video.

The ducklings spent a few minutes collected in a bucket of water and then scurried to the safety of an adult duck.

Dodds was happy with his improvised rescue system. He used duct tape to attach the net to the hockey stick.

"I didn't know whether we'd be able to scoop any of them up at all," he said. "[I'm] relieved and very pleased with myself."

He said it took some patience to position the net in the right spot and wait for a duckling to swim into position for him to scoop it up.

While the ducklings were in the bucket, and the family was researching what to do next, an adult duck came along. The bucket was spilled onto the lawn and the mature duck took the rescued four under her wing.

"She adopted them if they weren't hers," Dodds figured. The last time the family checked, the ducks — which had been spending time in a neighbour's yard as well as going to a nearby man-made lake — appeared to have moved on.

"It was extremely satisfying to see them back home with their parents," Ceiligh said.