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updated: 5/18/2018 12:12 PM

A duck picked a bad spot to lay her eggs. Marianjoy employees were there to help.

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  • Video: Marianjoy's ducklings

  • Marianjoy workers used brooms and encouraging words to get the ducks headed in the right direction.

      Marianjoy workers used brooms and encouraging words to get the ducks headed in the right direction.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

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.

A mother duck and her offspring are shepherded from the Labyrinth Garden at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton through the parking garage to a nearby pond.
  A mother duck and her offspring are shepherded from the Labyrinth Garden at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton through the parking garage to a nearby pond. - Daniel White | Staff Photographer

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.

A team from Marianjoy uses brooms and some encouraging words to encourage a mama mallard and her 14 ducklings toward water after she nested in the hospital's enclosed Labyrinth Garden.
  A team from Marianjoy uses brooms and some encouraging words to encourage a mama mallard and her 14 ducklings toward water after she nested in the hospital's enclosed Labyrinth Garden. - Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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."

This duck tale has a happy ending: Mom and her babies take a swim.
  This duck tale has a happy ending: Mom and her babies take a swim. - Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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.

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