Loan Officer Flies To The Rescue Of Baby Ducks

A duck lays 10 eggs in the corner of a planter, 10 feet above the sidewalk. i i

A duck lays 10 eggs on the cement awning of Joel Armstrong's office building in downtown Spokane, Wash. Morgan McGee hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McGee
A duck lays 10 eggs in the corner of a planter, 10 feet above the sidewalk.

A duck lays 10 eggs on the cement awning of Joel Armstrong's office building in downtown Spokane, Wash.

Morgan McGee
A duckling is perched, ready to jump off the ledge. i i

A duckling is perched, ready to jump off the ledge. Morgan McGee hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McGee
A duckling is perched, ready to jump off the ledge.

A duckling is perched, ready to jump off the ledge.

Morgan McGee
The mother duck waits as, one by one, her ducklings jump from the ledge. i i

The mother duck waits as, one by one, her ducklings jump from the ledge. Morgan McGee hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McGee
The mother duck waits as, one by one, her ducklings jump from the ledge.

The mother duck waits as, one by one, her ducklings jump from the ledge.

Morgan McGee
Joel Armstrong carries the box of ducklings low so their mother can see them. i i

After collecting the ducklings in a cardboard box, Armstrong carries them to the Spokane River. He holds the box low so the mother can see her babies. Morgan McGee hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McGee
Joel Armstrong carries the box of ducklings low so their mother can see them.

After collecting the ducklings in a cardboard box, Armstrong carries them to the Spokane River. He holds the box low so the mother can see her babies.

Morgan McGee
The duck family swims safely in the Spokane River. i i

The duck family swims safely in the Spokane River. Morgan McGee hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McGee
The duck family swims safely in the Spokane River.

The duck family swims safely in the Spokane River.

Morgan McGee

Joel Armstrong works at a bank in downtown Spokane, Wash. Sitting in his office back in May, he noticed an unusual scene — a duck in the awning just outside his second-story window.

"I kinda looked and realized that she had built a nest, and then I noticed some eggs in there," he tells Weekend All Things Considered host Andrea Seabrook.

Armstrong watched and waited until one day the eggs hatched, exposing 10 yellow puffs with beaks.

The next day, Armstrong saw the mother duck pacing along the high awning.

"All of a sudden, the mother jumped down to the sidewalk," Armstrong says, "and at that moment, I just said, 'I've got to get down there and help these things. I think they're gonna start jumping.'"

The first duckling waddled up to the ledge and jumped 10 feet down to the sidewalk. The little duck lay limp.

That's when Armstrong leaped into action.

"So I ran over there, stood under the awning," he says. "Another friend stood 40-50 feet away and told me when they were about to jump, and then I'd look up and catch 'em and then just instantly kinda drop them to the ground. And the mother didn't really seem to care."

Armstrong caught the remaining ducklings, and the first one who hit the sidewalk sprang back to life.

It was a three-block waddle to the Spokane River, so Armstrong grabbed a cardboard box, collected the ducklings and walked them down the street, carrying the box low so Mama Duck could see her babies. Finally, they reached the river.

"The mom ran over there. Her ducklings just followed, and then she plopped in the river. They knew how to swim instantly, and they were so happy," Armstrong says. "And the mom started doing circles right in front of us, quacking and actually wagging her tail."

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