Lucky ducks: San Leandro firefighters rescue ducklings with unique tool

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Fast-thinking Alameda County firefighters used mother duck sounds from a YouTube video to coax two trapped tiny ducklings out of a storm drain in San Leandro. 

Late Sunday morning, firefighters from Station 10 were called out to retrieve the furry ducklings who had been separated from their mother and 10 siblings and retreated below ground near the Marina Inn in San Leandro, said firefighter Brendan Burke. 

On scene, firefighters assessed the situation and got down to work. 

“I hoped in at first and tried to coax them out, but I could tell they were scared,’’ said Burke. “So I pulled up the duck sounds on the iPhone and that seemed to work.” 

Burke put the weeks-old, gold and brown ducklings in a cardboard box and brought them to safety. But the crew’s work wasn’t over.  

They still needed to find the duckling’s family. 

Burke, along with Engineer Brian Centoni and Capt. Brad Arganbright searched the Marina for more than an hour before Centoni spotted the duck family near the lake on the Monarch Bay Golf Course. 

Burke said it took a few minutes for the family to get used to one another again, but the mama duck eventually rounded up the two wayward ducks, gathered the entire family together and hopped in the lake.

“And they swam off happily ever after,’’ said Brendan, who is now known as the “duck whisperer” around the station house.