Trams may not stop for you and me, but in the face of overwhelming cuteness, even those vehicles will relent. And in Fitzroy this afternoon, relent they did, when a duck and her 10 tiny chicks crossing Smith Street brought traffic to a standstill.
A crowd soon gathered, phones ripped out of pockets, Insta-stories taken. Broadsheet was on the scene as the fowl and her brood began their procession east down Stanley Street.
“Don’t get too close to them,” shouts a concerned bystander to the assembled camera crew. Duck safety was paramount. “They need to be kept off the road,” warns another.
But the mother duck and her young family were blissfully unaware of the human squabbles going on around them.
The rest of the crowd tries to corral the ducks next to Collingwood cafe Proud Mary, then someone calls Wildlife Victoria and takes command of the situation.
“Ok, I’ve just spoken with Wildlife services, we need to stay away from the duck,” she said with gravitas. “The mother may get spooked and she will fly away, abandoning the chicks.”
According to the Wildlife Victoria website, it’s common for mother ducks to be on the move during spring. They often hatch their babies in suburban gardens and can walk with baby ducks for up to two days to nearby parks, creeks and natural reserves in search of food and water.
So, the group leaves the brave young duck mum and her chicks to continue unhindered. They knew where they were going. They may have waddled away from us, but they’ve waddled into our hearts.
If you spot the Fitzroy-Collingwood mother duck and her brood, or any other young duck families, Wildlife Victoria advises that in most situations they do not need to be rescued and should be left alone and allowed to go on their way. More information can be found here.