Diane Desrosiers didn’t hesitate to rescue 10 abandoned ducklings from a busy road. However, once she’d saved the baby birds, she had no idea what to do with them. So she tipped them into a pond and hoped for the best. It was then that nature took its course.
Desrosiers works as an Animal Control Officer (ACO) for the Wyandotte Police Department in Michigan. As part of her job, the official is responsible for enforcing animal licensing rules and welfare standards. From time to time, she must also impound stray or dangerous animals.
However, there was a softer side to Desrosiers’ role too. That’s because her job also involved rescuing animals in need and providing care for the creatures under her supervision. And during one incident in June 2018 Desrosiers got to fulfill both of these obligations simultaneously.
It all began when Desrosiers came to the rescue of ten ducklings on the Southfield Expressway in Southgate. The little animals had been trying to make their way across the busy road, with no mother anywhere in sight. As a result Desrosiers felt she had to step in to save the vulnerable chicks.
The animal control officer made her own way onto the freeway and proceeded to stop the traffic. After that, she scooped the ducklings up and placed them into a pet carrier. But while Desrosiers had dealt with the immediate danger, the babies weren’t exactly out of the woods yet.
According to experts, ducklings usually stay with their mothers for 50 to 60 days before making their own way in the world. During those two months the momma duck protects the fledglings and teaches them all they need to know about how to survive in the wild.
With their mother nowhere to be seen, the ducklings Desrosiers had rescued were essentially orphaned. However, they would still need someone to teach them the ways of the wild. It was then that the animal control officer had an idea.
Desrosiers took the baby birds to the nearby South Winds Golf Club. She figured that, with its rolling greens and inviting lakes, the course would make a suitable – and more importantly – safe place for the ducklings to grow up.
However, when she got there, Chris Grandy had a better idea of what to do with the ducklings. A few weeks prior, the club’s resident professional had found a wild duck guarding nine eggs in some thick grass. Almost immediately, he decided to take the momma and her unhatched ducklings under his wing.
Speaking to TV station Fox 2 News in June 2018, Grandy revealed. “I named her Stella after one of my favorite aunts, lives in Coldwater, MI. She’s in her 90s. She’s a sweetheart. So we always took care of Stella. We were real careful.”
Grandy continued to care for the duck until her babies hatched. When they did, the nature lover went out of his way to ensure they stuck by their mom’s side, even guiding them to the golf course pond after the family became lost in the course’s parking lot.
Describing what happened next, Grandy explained, “So they get through the gate, they go in the pond. ‘Great,’ I think, ‘That’s the last I’m ever going to see of Stella.’” However, as it turned out, the golf pro had spoken much too soon.
Because when Desrosiers arrived at the golf club with the 10 rescued ducklings, Grandy stepped in to help find the baby birds a home. He later recounted, “We take them out to the pond, we don’t know what to do. No mother, they’re going to have a problem.”
But the animal-loving pair had little choice but to release the ducklings into the lake anyway. In video footage of the nerve-wracking moment, Desrosiers can be seen upending the carrier over the pond, sending the baby birds tumbling into the water.
The animal officer and Grandy – who is filming the unfolding scene – look on as the ducklings glide out onto the water, then something amazing happens. “Oh look,” Grandy exclaims as Stella leaves her own babies behind to come and inspect the new arrivals.
After just a few seconds, the momma duck proceeds to lead the new arrivals back to her existing brood, as if accepting them as her own. “She’s basically saying, ‘Follow me. Come with me babies,” Desrosiers says, while Grandy gushes, “Oh that is precious. They lost their mom and now they’ve got a new mom.”
As the newly blended family swim off together, the animal officer and the golf pro can’t help but marvel at Stella’s maternal instincts. “She’s got a whole family. Oh, what a wonderful mom. Look at them all,” Desrosiers coos, while Grandy says, “I’ve never seen nothing like that in my life.”
Relaying the events of the duckling’s release, Grandy told Fox 2 News, “[We] put the babies in, Stella seen it and immediately started squawking and flew really fast to those new babies. I don’t know if she said something to them, but they listened. She turned around, they all followed and joined her existing family.”
Needless to say, it was a moment that Grandy will never forget. “I’ve seen a lot of animal things over the years, nothing will top this one,” he said. “It was the most precious kind of thing I’ve ever witnessed. You know, it was such a motherly thing, it was just something I’ve never experienced in 40 years here at the golf course.”
Following the ducklings’ successful release, Grandy reached out to Desrosiers to thank her for her excellent work. But she refused to take all the credit. Writing on Facebook in June 2018 the animal officer said, “It was a team effort, from our Downriver Central dispatchers, to Allen Park police, the other ACO and Chris Grandy.” And she added that it had been a “happy ending.”