MIDDLEBURY — Northridge High School Band Director Brad Zook is always surrounded by sound. Mostly it’s his students warming up, practicing and performing.
On Tuesday as he was leaving for the middle school a different sound filled his ears — a mother mallard duck in distress.
“I knew what had happened,” Zook said. “She was standing over a storm grate where her newly hatched brood had fallen five feet down a drainage pipe.”
On his hands and knees he peered into the darkness until he spied a dozen ducklings huddled close together and peeping piteously.
Although unable to do anything at the time, Zook returned two hours later only to find that nothing had changed. The mother duck stayed firm at her post quacking away.
“In one final attempt, I yanked on the grating once again,” he said. “It moved!”
After a quick trip to the science department, Zook procured two nets and the help of a senior band member.
At first the pair tried to scoop the ducklings up in the net. When that didn’t work, Zook climbed into the drainage pipe and gently handed each duckling to the student who placed them in the net.
Back out of the drainage pipe, Zook carried the ducklings — with mother duck following for a quarter of a mile to the nearby pond.
“The end result was a muddy music teacher, his sidekick student and a reunited family of ducks!”