Why did the ducks cross the road? Traffic delays caused by wandering family

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A family of ducks brought out the best in Sydney drivers this morning.

Up to seven ducks and ducklings ruffled a few feathers this morning when they ran in and out of citybound lanes on the M2 Motorway between Delhi Road and the Lane Cove Tunnel in North Ryde during peak hour. They caused “significant delays” just after 8.10am today, the NSW Transport Management Centre said.

But motorists took the time to drive slowly around the ducks, while a Hillsbus driver tried to shepherd the birds off the motorway, witnesses said.

“It appears that everyone was trying to help the ducks,” a NSW Police spokesman said, adding that police officers were called in to help the birds.

University student Maddie, one of the passengers on the Hillsbus 610, said her driver got off the bus just before the Lane Cove Tunnel.

“I thought there’d been a crash, but he just got off the bus and started ushering them across the road to try and get them out of the way. It was actually pretty funny,” she said.

“Traffic had stopped a bit behind us, but he was very cautious. He didn’t run out in front of any cars.”

But the family of brown-striped ducks waddled back on to the road and the driver had to usher them off again before he returned to the bus.

“People [on the bus] were looking around, thinking there was a crash, but when … they saw what he was doing, everyone was like, ‘Awww,’ ” Maddie said.

When police officers arrived, they found one duck dead and that the five ducklings had entered the tunnel and escaped into a water channel, the spokesman said.

Judy Harrington of BirdLife Australia said the birds may have been Pacific black ducks, a native species that has black stripes on its face and is quite widespread in Sydney.

“They would have hatched in a hidden nest away from water and [the mother duck is] taking them to water and hopefully it’s connected to somewhere safe. All you can do is to ask people to keep their eyes out for them,” Ms Harrington said.

“I’ve heard of black ducks making nests in Darling Harbour in someone’s balcony. They are probably used to urban life, and they sometimes choose somewhere ‘hidden’ but it may not be a particularly appropriate spot.”

Ms Harrington said if people saw ducks crossing a busy road, they should try to guide the ducks and not pick them up, unless the situation was particularly dangerous and they had nowhere else to move to.

“If it was a really dangerous situation and there was simply nowhere safe for them to go, you could perhaps put the ducklings in a box and the mother would probably follow you.”

People who see ducks or other birds in danger can call WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service) or Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services, she added.

Traffic was returning to normal just after 9am, although citybound buses were delayed by up to 30 minutes, the Transport Management Centre said.


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Posted by at 21/12/2018
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