Mama duck parades her babies through hospital, delighting everyone

These ducks are not licensed medical professionals, but they're a welcome sight at Thompson Health.
Image: Thompson health

Each year, a duck visits the courtyard of Thompson Health in upstate New York to lay her eggs. Once the fuzzy little ducklings hatch, they have a little parade through the hospital’s nursing home, the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center.

Is there a better way to ring in the spring season every year? No.

The University of Rochester Medicine Thompson Health Facebook page shared a little story on Thursday that would thaw the winter out of anyone’s heart, sharing pictures of 2019’s family of ducks and their journey through the facility’s hallways and out a door.

The mother of the ducklings will tap on the glass door of the courtyard when her ducklings hatch, according to the post, and the staff allows them to walk through the facility to get out into the big wide world.

The first picture shows the matriarch and her crew of 13 children waddling through the hall as staff guide them with old signage in case they stray from their annual path. It looks like both staff and visitors are smitten by the intrepid water fowl.

North American mallards like these migrate hundreds (and even thousands) of miles in the fall and spring, according to Ducks Unlimited, so the return of ducks and duckling sightings are pretty good signs that warm weather season is here to stay.

As far as nesting goes, it’s pretty common for mallards to nest around human structures, especially when there’s vegetation around. And ducks that live in populated areas are usually pretty comfortable and docile around people, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

To have ducks nest in one courtyard, knock on a door, and have a parade year after year is a special kind of magic, though.

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