By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Good Samaritans save ducklings from sewer
ducks saved pic1
Turlock neighbors come together to rescue ducklings that fell through a storm grate on Sunday. Pictured left to right are Jesus Cortes, Rafaela Cortes, Marlene Anderson and Rodolfo Cortes. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

Two neighboring families coordinated a rescue mission that saved eight ducklings from certain doom on Sunday evening.

Marlene Anderson was enjoying an evening at home when she heard insistent quacking coming from the road just beyond her Georgetown Avenue front yard. She investigated the unusual sounds and found a flustered mother duck and two ducklings circling a storm grate at the edge of the roadway. About seven feet below the street were nine ducklings who apparently fell through the large openings in the storm grate.

Wanting to help but needing a few extra hands, Anderson went next door to her neighbors, the Cortes family.

“I was getting ready for church when our neighbor came asking for fishing net because babies were stuck (down the storm grate),” said Jesus Cortes, a freshman at California State University, Stanislaus.

After assessing the situation, Jesus’ father, Rodolfo Cortes, decided the safest way to rescue the wayward ducklings was to lower a ladder into the sewer access and lift them out by hand. Rodolfo, with the help of an ax, was able to lift the grate and lower in the ladder.

Jesus’ mother, Rafaela Cortes, then used a broom to block the hole to the sewer while Jesus climbed down the access area. He then lifted each duckling out to his sisters, Gabby and Angelica, who reunited them with their mother. Jesus was able to save eight of the ducklings, however, one was swept into the sewer.

The Cortes family and Anderson tried to lure the lost duckling to the sewer access areas on each side of the street, but the duckling never emerged.

The mother duck, happy to have eight of her babies back, quickly took off down the street.

While they were happy to help, the Cortes family and Anderson wondered why the storm grate had such large openings.

“This is not the first time this has happened,” said Rafaela Cortes said about ducklings falling through storm grates.

According to the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department, the storm grates are sized the way they are so debris won’t clog the grates during a storm.

Luckily for one mother duck, the Cortes family and Anderson were able to intervene before all nine ducklings were swept away.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.