Something really amazing happened in Downtown Spokane this week
and I had to share the story with you.
Some of you may know that my brother, Joel, is a loan officer at
Sterling Bank. He works downtown in a
Second story office building, overlooking busy Riverside Avenue.
Several weeks ago he watched a mother
Duck choose the cement awning outside his window as the uncanny
place to build a nest above the sidewalk.
The mallard laid nine eggs in a nest in the corner of the planter
that is perched over 10 feet in the air. She
Dutifully kept the eggs warm for weeks and Monday afternoon all
of her nine ducklings hatched.
Joel worried all night how the mamma duck was going to get those
babies safely off their perch in a busy,
Downtown, urban environment to take to water, which typically
happens in the first 48 hours of a duck
Hatching. Tuesday morning, Joel came to work and watched the
mother duck encourage her babies to the
Edge of the perch with the intent to show them how to jump off!
The mother flew down below and started quacking to her babies
above. In his disbelief J oel watched as the
First fuzzy newborn toddled to the edge and astonishingly leapt
into thin air, crashing onto the cement below.
My brother couldn't watch how this might play out. He dashed out
of his office and ran down the stairs the
Sidewalk where the first obedient duckling was stuporing near its
mother from the near fatal fall.
Joel looked up. The second duckling was getting ready to jump! He
quickly dodged under the awning while the
Mother duck quacked at him and the babies above. As the second
one took the plunge, Joel jumped forward
And caught it with his bare hands before it hit the cement. Safe
and sound, he set it by the mamma and the other
Stunned sibling, still recovering from its painful leap.
One by one the babies continued to jump to join their anxious
family below. Each time Joel hid under the
Awning just to reach out in the nick of time as the duckling made
its free fall. The downtown sidewalk came
To a standstill. Time after time, Joel was able to catch the
remaining 7 and set them by their approving mother.
At this point Joel realized the duck family had only made part of
its dangerous journey. They had 2 full blocks
To walk across traffic, crosswalks, curbs, and pedestrians to get
to the closest open water, the Spokane River
The onlooking office secretaries then joined in, and hurriedly
brought an empty copy paper box to collect the
Babies. They carefully corralled them, with the mother's
approval, and loaded them up into the white cardboard
Container. Joel held the box low enough for the mom to see her
brood. He then slowly navigated through the
Downtown streets toward the Spokane River, as the mother waddled
behind and kept her babies in sight.
As they reached the river, the mother took over and passed
him, jumping into the river and quacking loudly.
At the water's edge, the Sterling Bank office staff then tipped
the box and helped shepherd the babies toward
The water and to their mother after their adventurous ride.
All nine darling ducklings safely made it into the water and
paddled up snugly to mamma duck. Joel said the
Mom swam in circles, looking back toward the beaming bank
workers, and proudly quacking as if to say,
'See, we did it! Thanks for all the help!
Thankfully, one of the secretaries had a digital camera and was
able to capture most of it (except the
Actual mid-air catching) in a series of attached photographs.
Please join me in celebrating my brother--
The Downtown Duck Hero!