Ballard resident escorts family of ducks off apartment balcony, all the way to Salmon Bay

For Nathaniel Peters, helping a brood of ducklings off his balcony is a bi-annual occurrence.

He’s done it so many times that he now has a name for it: the Ballard Mallard Duckling Drop. On Sunday, June 14, Peters helped the latest duck family off his balcony in central Ballard for the second time this year, and the seventh time in four years since he’s lived in his apartment.

With help from his partner and a neighbor (and guidance from local wildlife rescue workers), Peters fashions a duckling elevator from a plastic bin and lowers them carefully down from the balcony to the sidewalk below. Once safely on the ground, the brood and their mother get a personal escort a few blocks away to Salmon Bay, where Peters sees them off.

Peters says he believes it’s the same mother each time, and that she picks almost the exact same dates in April and June each year. He says after she lays the eggs, they take about 30 days to hatch, and then 30 days to grow large enough that they can take their duckling elevator ride to the sidewalk and begin their journey out to the Ship Canal.

“Today, we had one that was always behind. We named it Scrappy,” Peters told My Ballard after the operation. Peters says during the first duckling rescue four years ago, one of the ducklings had also fallen behind; Peters saw that it was injured and brought it to a wildlife rehab center. The duckling had to be put down, and Peters says it was an emotional experience for him.

“Unlike the first rescue, however, Scrappy never stopped. It would stop and we would have to wait, but the little one made it all the way. At the end the mother circled back to Scrappy in the water when it finally caught up. It was amazing.”

Here’s Peters’ full Facebook post with more photos:

“Each time we do this, our priority is the safety of the ducklings and their Mama,” Peters writes.

“We herd them away from storm drains, create safe routes of passage across busy streets, and insure the safety of our little feathered neighbors. We believe that this is what good neighbors are supposed to do. We look out for each other. We help each other when help is needed. We support each other when we fall down or fall behind.”

12 thoughts to “Ballard resident escorts family of ducks off apartment balcony, all the way to Salmon Bay”

  1. “Forget that no trespassing sign, it doesn’t apply to me,” in Seattle, even private property is owned by the “People.”

      1. Cmon, get with the program. He clearly walked our ducks, through our property to our water. What’s mine is your and what’s yours is mine… that’s what the new Seattle is all about.

    1. I’ve been avoiding reading the comments here lately, but I clicked on the comments here, thinking “no one can say anything knee-jerk negative about how horrible things are in Seattle with such a cute and positive story!” Well, I was wrong.

      1. I mean, this is the same guy who burst onto the MyBallard scene a few months ago continually bragging about how refusing to wear a mask or social distance makes him an American hero.

  2. This is an amazing story that has happened for many years. There is so much that we can all learn from this and if you can’t see that then I feel sorry for you. The fact that ducks have nested on Nathaniel’s balcony for the seventh time in four years is amazing!
    I think it is wonderful that wild animals trust some of us to be this close to them when some of us treat them in such bad ways.

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