WINTHROP — Three ducks were rescued recently from the mill stream that runs under Main Street after someone reported they were in distress.

Winthrop first responders Cody Perkins, left, and Connor Perkins, use a net Saturday to retrieve ducks trapped in the mill stream under Main Street in Winthrop. The brothers, who work for the town’s police and fire departments, respectively, rescued three of the hooded mergansers but found several others dead. Courtesy of Winthrop Police

Winthrop Police Chief Ryan Frost said the ducks, identified as hooded mergansers, were found Saturday at the grate that spans the stream, along with several dead ducks.

“It is not a common thing,” Frost said, noting that he can’t recall that ducks have needed to be rescued from that location before, even during times of high water flows after storms like the one that pushed through the region last Wednesday and Thursday. “We’ve had ducks there for years, and we’ve had no problems.”

Brothers Connor Perkins, a Winthrop firefighter, and Cody Perkins, a Winthrop police officer, were able to retrieve the ducks and start them on their way to Avian Haven in Freedom to be rehabilitated.

Avian Haven is a nonprofit organization that cares for wild birds that are sick, injured or orphaned.

Frost said Avian Haven is trying to determine why the other ducks died. He advised anyone who has recently seen ducks that have died to contact Winthrop Police, which will contact Avian Haven.


Avian Haven did not immediately respond to questions about the ducks Monday afternoon.

“The talk is that we have the avian flu around,” Frost said.

During 2022, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife issued a warning to the public to avoid dead or dying birds following an outbreak of avian influenza.

The respiratory disease, caused by a virus, has spread among wild water birds like ducks and geese. The disease can also be spread to domestic poultry. The department advises to leave sick-acting birds alone, and contact wildlife officials to remove dead or dying birds.

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