It was like a scene from “Make Way for Ducklings” on Wednesday morning in Biddeford as 10 newly hatched ducklings were moved from the roof of a mill to the nearby Saco River.

The ducklings hatched Tuesday night atop the Pepperell Mill Campus, a sprawling campus of former textile mills on the banks of the Saco River. The mother mallard laid her eggs in a raised garden planter on top of Building 10, said mill owner Doug Sanford, whose wife, Lauren Cullity-Sanford, maintains a rooftop garden there.

After the nest was discovered, the Sanfords put a fence around the nest so the ducklings wouldn’t wander away once they hatched. They also contacted the Maine Warden Service, which said a warden would help relocate the ducklings to the river.

But, as it turns out, the ducklings arrived on the warden’s day off.

“The ducklings were safe in our makeshift fence enclosure, but the mother duck became stressed when she was able to exit the enclosure and she was unable to lead her ducklings to water,” mill employees wrote in a blog update about the ducklings.

So Cullity-Sanford put the new arrivals in a construction bucket and carried them down from the roof.


“The mother flew down and waddled over to them,” Doug Sanford said.

The mother, her ducklings and their human guardians then made their way through a construction zone and along the river to a spot where the ducklings could be safely released into the water.

Doug Sanford said the duck family was last spotted swimming away from shore.

“We’re happy they all made it,” he said.

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