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B.C. woman doesn’t duck responsibilities, helps ducklings waddle across city

North Vancouver woman spends an hour guiding duck family through traffic and across sidewalks
file image by Alexa from Pixabay

By Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter NORTH SHORE NEWS

You’ve heard the one about the dog eating the homework, but what about the one where the woman is late to work because she’s spent the morning herding a family of ducks across West Vancouver?

Like a scene from a modern day Snow White, Sydney Boothroyd managed to herd a mother Mallard duck and her flock of 10 hatchlings from her home in Sentinel Hill to Ambleside Park — more than an hour’s journey.

“My mom and I had been having a cup of coffee in the morning and we looked at our lawn, and we saw these ducks just circling the fence,” she said.

“They were obviously trapped, walking back and forth, back and forth. It was so sad.”

Boothroyd phoned the Wildlife Rescue Association for advice, only to be told that the nearest water source was more than a kilometre away. The stray ducks would have to find their own way there, they explained, or, if Boothroyd was willing, she could try to lead them there herself.

“I tried to herd these ducks away from the fence, and they just literally started following me. I was like, `oh my God, what is going on?’ I’m walking down the sidewalk, there is this really busy thoroughfare ahead of me, and these little ducks are just trailing behind me,” she said.

Boothroyd, with the enlisted help of mum Gillian, shepherded the waddling down 11th Street and across Marine Drive. The group navigated busy roads and train tracks and picked up a handful of extra helpers along the way — one man crossing the road at Marine Drive stopped traffic in both directions for a “solid 10 minutes” so the flock could cross, she said.

“Sometimes the ducklings would fall off the curb because they had literally just been born and were so unsteady, so there were points where half the ducklings would be on the road and we would have to stop cars so they could make their way back up the sidewalk,” she said.

Boothroyd said the event was a heartwarming example of how a mother’s love always prevails, and she was touched that she was able to lead the mother and her babies home alongside her own mom.

“As soon as we got near the water by Ambleside it’s like they knew where they were going, and they literally started running and jumped into the water and swam happily away,” said Boothroyd.

“I’m so in awe of that mom duck because I honestly think she knew where to go, she just needed some support. We were just ushering her along, but she did all the work. It was pretty amazing,” she said. “There is something about it being a mom and daughter team helping to lead a mom and her baby ducklings home that feels so lovely.”

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