Just outside of Spencerport’s TOPS Friendly Market, shoppers in recent days came to do more than just shop. They also come to see what’s become one of the village’s most beloved two-foot webbed friend.
“I see people here taking pictures all the time,” visitor Tom Eldridge said.
TOPS employee’s said the duck, who decided to make the planter in front of the store her home, has become somewhat of an icon.
“I think it brought the town together,” employee Valerie Lang said. “Everyone knew about it. It was a common thing. Everyone knew about it, everyone was checking up on it.”
Many found the place where she decided to build her nest an unusual one.
“I mean they’re usually doing this out in the wild out in the woods some place or in the high grass, but this is kind of neat with all the tracking going by,” visitor Ralph Parmelee said. “She was there for a long time, and she never moved. She just sat right there, sat right there all the time.”
Employees at the store gave her water, food, and even put an umbrella out to shade her from the sun.
While she was not given an official name, TOPS employees and customers said they believe she showed up about a month ago and began laying a clutch of eggs.
“I didn’t think she was ever going to hatch,” visitor Tom Eldridge said. “I said somebody played a dirty trick and stuck glass eggs under her.”
But on Saturday night, the moment came, and that’s when Western New York Wildlife Service Lieutenant Tim Wandtke was called in to aid in their birth and rescue.
“The duck was lying on her eggs and they were hatching when we got here,” his 10-year-old daughter Taylor Wandtke said. “By the time we got here there were five ducks and there were five left. We spent about six to eight hours here waiting for all the eggs to hatch.”
Sunday morning, after all ten ducklings had hatched, Wandtke got a call to come back and make the rescue.
“I got the emergency call at 7:30 this morning from the manager that the mama duck and her ducklings were attempting to lower themselves off the platforms that they were on and potentially end up in harm’s way,” Wandtke said. “So we made an emergency, lights and sirens rescue at tops to save the mama duck and her ducklings from definite peril.”
It was then time for the customers to say their last goodbyes to this proud mama and her ducklings.
“The duck and the ducklings will be taken to the service in Hilton and they’ll go to the wildlife clinic and then they’ll be reunited at the cove farm in Hamlin on Sandy Creek,” Wandtke said. “So we’re going to have a sign put up here at wnywildlifeservice.org you can follow their reuniting and follow the first few weeks of their life together at Sandy Creek. So it’s going to be a nice community thing that people can follow along and see that they’re safe and sound.”
Even though the planter will seem empty without her, many agree it's better they’re off to a safe place rather than staying in a busy parking lot.
"Hopefully there will be another one coming behind her. She’ll leave a note there saying this is the place to have them,” Parmelee said.
Lang agreed. “I’m sure she’ll be missed,” Lang said. “She was a big part of Spencerport.”
To follow along with the duck and her ducklings’ journey in the coming weeks visit the Western New York Wildlife Service website by clicking here.