Green Bay's Duck Man delivers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two weeks ago we introduced you to Green Bay's "Duck Man," and his mission to save mother ducks and their babies from the dangers of nesting and hatching in urban areas.

At the time, a mallard hen was on a nest full of eggs next to the Associated Bank building in downtown Green Bay.

And Joe Loehlein figured it would be a couple weeks before the babies would hatch, and he'd be back in action.

He was right.

"This morning when I came here, I moved her off the nest and I looked and all the babies were out. Once they're all dried off she wants to go and she wants to head to water with them," says Joe.

But in the city, that doesn't always work out so well.

"You got vehicles, the sewers, other predators, you never know what they're going to run into," says Joe.

That's where Joe comes in, just as he has for the last 30 years, rescuing more than 15,000 mother ducks and their little ones.

"Let's get the blanket out, and this is what you're going to put the babies in," says Joe to another volunteer, Jim, with the Green Bay Duck Hunters Association.

The first step is to capture mom, which in this case doesn't take much.

"OK, now I've got the mother and there's all the little babies," says Joe holding the mother duck.

One by one, the babies are collected from the nest and placed with mom in a cage in Joe's truck.

As is often the case, this process does not go unnoticed, and Joe's always happy to explain his mission.

"I've got them by front doors. You see how this one is, on roofs, all over town," says Joe.

"Good to know you're around. You can help if I ever get a full batch," says a bank employee.

"Alright, you got a card, Jim?," asks Joe.

It's time for the transport, and after a 10 minute drive Joe arrives at a wetlands area in Howard.

"I chose this one because there's a lot of cover, there's water, that's what she needs," says Joe.

Joe and Jim carry the cage to the edge of a pond.

"We're going to lift the door and get out of the way," says Joe.

Very calmly, mom steps out, looks around and calls for her little ones to join her.

Soon, it's a fluffy parade through the grass.

"She will teach them how to find mosquito larvae, pick up little grass, little tender grass, that's what they eat and in six weeks they'll be able to fly just like she does," says Joe.

But first, they get to swim.

"This is going to be their first touch of water," observes Joe.

And just like that, the ducks are off in their new, safer home.

For Joe, there's no time for emotional goodbyes.

"No I'm glad I got rid of these, now I can get some more because they're all over the place right now," says Joe with a chuckle.

Besides, it really isn't goodbye.

"It's amazing. No matter if it take this hen with the babies 4 miles, 2 miles, 10 miles, she'll be back that that spot nesting next year more than likely," says Joe.

Related Stories
We welcome comments and civil discussions. powered by Disqus