One of the very first lessons a mother duck taught her newly hatched ducklings on Tuesday was how to safely cross the street.
The class began around 3 p.m., after all the offspring had hatched and then made a big leap from the large brick planter at the corner of East Elk Avenue and Sycamore Street, where they hatched earlier in the day.
Their nest was near All Star Sports and Country Crafts. Business owner April Proffitt found the nest a few weeks ago when she noticed the duck sitting in the planter, which is about two blocks from the Doe River. Every time she looked at the planter, she saw the mother duck patiently sitting on her nest.
On Tuesday, she brought a small bag of nuts to the bag for the duck and found the ducklings had hatched. She watched as each duckling leaped from the 3-foot tall planter onto the sidewalk.
“Most fell on their backs, but they all made it,” Proffitt said. She then offered the hungry ducklings the bag of nuts, their first meal.
She watched as mom took charge of the brood and began leading them to the river. Downtown shoppers watched as she slowly led her family across Sycamore Street, using the crosswalk. A driver making a right turn from East Elk to Sycamore patiently waited for the ducklings to complete the crossing. One man then helped the family walk the remaining two blocks to the river, alerting motorists of the ducks’ passage.