Pittsburgh Animal Care & Control, with the help of passersby, rescued five ducklings that fell into a sewer in front of the Waterworks Cinemas on Friday.
Animal Care & Control officers responded to the cinema around 9:30 a.m. after a man called 911 to report that he saw a duck and her ducklings walking through the parking lot, and that several ducklings fell through the wide openings of a sewer grate.
Officers Duane Eagan and Jim Genco believed three ducklings were in the sewer. They removed the grate cover and lowered nets about eight feet to the sewer bottom. They lured the ducklings, who were hiding in sewer pipes, into the opening with popcorn from the cinema and by whistling.
The first two ducklings emerged around 10:30 a.m. Genco put them in a cage and set it near bushes where the mother duck was last seen. They hoped the chirping of the ducklings would draw her back to the area.
The last duckling was shy and refused to exit the pipe. So Eagan and Genco lowered the cage with the two ducklings back into the sewer to attract the third duckling. Dan McConnell, a technician with Fire Fighter Sales & Services – who was in the area to check extinguishers at the movie theater and who made the original 911 call – provided wire from his truck to help lower the cage.
Within minutes, the third duckling emerged and Eagan caught it in his net and lifted it out of the sewer.
The mother duck did not return, so Animal Care & Control took the three ducklings to Humane Animal Rescue Wildlife Center in Verona, where the ducklings will be fostered until they are ready to be released into the wild.
But the story is not over ...
Around 1:35 p.m., Animal Care & Control returned to the site after McConnell heard more chirping from the sewer and again called Public Safety. The officers removed the grate, set up the net and caught the final two ducklings, who were hiding in a different pipe from the first three ducklings.
Those ducklings were taken to Verona to join their siblings.
The rescue mission was aided not only by McConnell, but by passersby who helped remove the heavy grate, and Alcosan’s Charles Simone, who used a goose call to help draw the first three ducklings from their hiding place.
Public Safety thanks everyone who pitched in to save the five ducklings.
NOTE: For photos of the rescue, please see Public Safety's Facebook Page.
Tonight, the City-County Building is illuminated to recognize Poison Prevention Week and the 50th Anniversary of "Mr. Yuk" in partnership with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
For questions about the lighting at the City-County Building, please reach out to the Office of the Mayor.