(Copyright 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---


May 10, 1999

Make way for ducklings!

The Tattoo

The return to school from April vacation presented a
delightful surprise for some and a dilemma for others. 

Students discovered 14 mallard ducklings and their
mother waddling around the eastwing courtyard at
Bristol Eastern High School last Monday.  

Sophomore Bill Mahoney was sitting in Nathalie
Flynn's fourth period study hall when he noticed the
mother duck sitting near a metal grate in the center of
the courtyard, said Flynn.

Curiosity struck when the mallard seemed to refuse to
change position. Garrett Vanadestine, sophomore in
Flynn's study hall, discovered the ducklings in the
sewer beneath the grate. 

"We don't know how long they were down there. They
could have been down there all last week," said Flynn.

The mother duckling built a nest within the courtyard
under one of the bushes, and 14 out of 15 eggs
hatched sometime over the vacation week. 

Two janitors and one workman came to the assistance
prying open the grate, and then Walter Hobbs,
assistant building supervisor, pulled them out.

"The mother was awfully good," and didn't attack
anyone, said Flynn.    

Principal V. Everett Lyons now faced the dilema of
what to do with them.

"If we don't get them pretty soon, we'll either have to
feed them or try to get them out," Lyons said. "We
have to put them in an environment where they can
find some nourishment."

Sophomore Lenor Tores and freshman Linda Valdes
placed food and water around the courtyard. "They
were cute. They were so small," said Valdes.

"They looked okay, but there was one that was really
limping," said Flynn.

Later on in the afternoon, the mother mallard along
with her 13 ducklings -- one died -- exited the
courtyard and walked into the building. Upon where
the janitors led them through the building, leading
them out through the band room doors, said Hobbs.

"We just kept blocking them until they found their
way out," said custodian Chad Lockhart. The mother
then "pretty much led them right out to the water" to a
stream flowing through Eastern's property said
Lockhart. "She knew where she was going."

Lockhart noticed that one duckling couldn't swim. He
said that this was because it hadn't developed the oils
that allow it to stay afloat. 

Hobbs said, "He was just laying in the water, floating
like he was dead. He didn't look too good."

Hobbs grabbed it and handed it to Lockhart. "It looked
like it was dead. It was like a wet noodle," said
Lockhart. "We were just going to throw it out, but I'm
not into that. I love animals."

Lockhart, cupping the duckling in his hands,
proceeded to warm it, trying to get it to breathe.
Custodian Brad LePane got a heat lamp from the
science department. "We put him in that box, and he
came back to life," Lockhart said. 

Lockhart is temporarily playing mother for the
duckling. With the additional roomate, Lockhart
needed some information.

Back to Basics, a Terryville feed dealer, taught him
how to take care of the duckling and gave him food.
"That place was real helpful too," said Lockhart. 

Lockhart and Hobbs hope to reunite the lone duckling
with its mallard family once it's ready to swim.
Until then, Lockhart said, "Now he's doing great, but
he still has a little limp."