Duck Release Day In School

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EAST BUFFALO TOWNSHIP -- It's not everyday you see a flock of ducks walking through a school, but today at Donald Eichhorn Middle School near Lewisburg, 11 ducklings waddled down a hallway.

The ducks hatched last month inside a courtyard at the school, and today, part of the school was closed off so the ducks could be released to the wild.

"For at least the past 15 years, maybe longer than that, we've had a mom duck come land at the courtyard, makes a nest and we have duckies," Dawn Bertinet said.

Teacher Dawn Bertinet says the ducks have become a big part of the school. Each year, middle school students help take care of the ducklings, and watch them grow up.

"I help out feeding the ducks and changing the water," Kendall Murphy said.

Since the ducklings cannot fly, at the end of the school year, they must be released into the wild.

"If we leave them in there too long they'll get too used to us caring for them and it makes them more vulnerable to predators," Dylan Cook said.

But releasing these 11 ducklings is no easy task!

"Every year we have to rig up a setting to get the ducks out," Bertinet said.

All of the students have a specific job to do when it comes to releasing the ducks. The students behind me are going to start things off by herding the ducks into the hallway.

Other students helped by making a tunnel for the ducks to walk across the hallway. That way the ducks don't get distracted and run around the school.

The plan worked! Ten of the babies made it across the hallway.

One of the ducklings was stubborn. Momma duck even stopped by to make sure he was OK. It took an extra 25 minutes to catch this little guy, but eventually he was reunited with his brothers and sisters. They all walked away together.

The ducklings waddled about 200 yards to a creek outside the school, which will be their new home. The students were sad to see them go, but if the tradition continues, there will be more ducks at Donald Eichhorn Middle School next year.