Look around Wheaton and it seems there are a million places -- no, a kazillion places! -- where a mother duck might want to set up housekeeping.
There are parks and forest preserves and wetlands and just about every kind of open space you can imagine.
But for at least one mama mallard, none of those locales fit the bill. None of them were what they were quacked up to be. All of them somehow ruffled her feathers.
So she chose to lay her eggs in the enclosed Labyrinth Garden at the Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital.
The good news is that the garden provided a safe haven from predators. The not-so-good news is that the enclosure meant mom had no way of leading her 14 ducklings to water.
This is at least the 11th straight year a duck -- perhaps she's even the same one -- has chosen the garden for her own personal nursery, Marianjoy grounds supervisor Ray Ward said.
"They go in there to be protected," he said. "It's a little tricky getting them out."
Tricky, but not impossible.
So Ward and other members of his team gathered Tuesday to use brooms and some encouraging words to direct the ducks down the hospital hallways, through a parking garage and outside toward water.
Because ducks often seem to feel comfortable with a woman leading the way, office coordinator Cathy Antman moved to the front of the contingent.
"C'mon mama," she said as the brood waddled behind her -- perhaps the coolest web sight of the day.
"It's a yearly thing that happens. We lead them out safely through the building and then over to the pond," said Peter Meininger with the building and grounds department. "It's the safest way to get them out of there."
The father mallard flew in to greet them as mom made it to the safely of the water and paddled away -- with all her ducks in a row.