By Kevin Deutsch

When Bruno Battel heard faint cries coming from a storm drain last Tuesday, he knew the ducklings were in trouble.

A worried-looking mother duck was standing over the grate covering, desperate to reach her brood but unable to squeeze between the bars.

“I pretty much figured right away there must have been babies under that grate,” said Battel, 41, Parks and Recreation Manager for the City of Parkland.

Battel, who had just finished a meeting and parked his car at Pine Trails Park, 10555 Trails End, peeked in and confirmed his fear: seven tiny ducklings flailing around in fresh stormwater, trapped and crying.

A contractor at the park used a special tool to open the grate, and Battel – an animal lover with three dogs at home – got on the ground to try and rescue the baby birds.

“I got in there and started pulling them out, one by one,” said Battel, who has worked in parks and recreation for 17 years but never encountered trapped ducks before Tuesday.

“I haven’t had to save ducklings before,” he said but has encountered his share of squirrels and raccoons in need of help.

Battel’s rescue was captured on video and Tweeted out by the city Friday, garnering more than 130 views as of July 19.

“It was a little difficult because they started diving under the water,” Battel said of the last few ducklings. “As they were getting out, you could see them running toward their mom, which was really cool.”

Battel said he was spurred to action by the plight of the feathered family.

“It kind of gets to you,” he said of the ducklings’ cries. “They wanted their mom, so I tried to help.”

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Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch
Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.