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Portsmouth Animal Control Officer saves 11 ducklings

Portsmouth police are crediting their animal control officer with saving the lives of 11 tiny ducklings. (WGME)

PORTSMOUTH (WGME) - Portsmouth police are crediting their animal control officer with saving the lives of 11 tiny ducklings.

These baby mallard ducks are less than a week old.

Sonja Ahlberg heads the medical clinic at the Center for Wildlife in York. She says all of them are healthy.

"They're doing really well." Ahlberg said.

But how they got there is a story in itself, a dozen mallard eggs, found in a nest under this bush, at a Portsmouth hotel.

Portsmouth Animal Control Officer Bonnie Robinson says a red-tailed hawk killed the mother. She gathered the 12 eggs, brought them home, and put them in an incubator.

"Eight of them hatched on Sunday,” Robinson said. “Two of them hatched on Monday. And one of them hatched on Tuesday."

All but one hatched. The next day, Officer Robinson brought the ducks to the center for wildlife.

"We're really thankful that once they hatched she brought them right here, and that way we can raise them; have them on appropriate food and husbandry,” Robinson said. “And make sure that they grow up wild and releasable."

The baby ducks are getting more active. In fact, in the next few days they'll be placed in that larger enclosure back there to give them more room to move around and to spread their wings.

Sonja Ahlberg says they'll be ready to release by the end of summer. That's when they hope their instincts will take over.

"I couldn't just leave them there, when they had a chance to hatch," Robinson said.

The Center for Wildlife hopes once released, the ducks will find another family to teach them where to forage for food and how to avoid predators.

They say mallards are pretty picky about taking in other babies, so they hope some other flock will take them under their wing.

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