#Operationmallard 3 lovelies! Let me tell you how stressful Dad's morning was! Yesterday (21st of June) lots of the ducklings hatched, but Mrs Mallard showed no desire to leave the nest and take the family down to the water. Dad could only count about 6 ducklings at most.
It might have been that the last 2 or 3 eggs hadn't hatched, or she just didn't fancy leaving yet but either way, they all settled down by evening and stayed the night. Dad got up just before 4am, thinking she'd want to leave at dawn, like last year.
But no. She stayed put. Dad waited. Then, to his horror, a group of workmen arrived right at the base of the building and started up a generator! He knew the ducklings would have to go to the water soon, so he went to speak to them...
Only to arrive at the elevators and discover that all 3 were out of service due to maintenance! Nine floors up, he didn't want to go all the way down and back up again by the stairs as it would leave the nest unattended too long.
So he went back to his flat to phone down to the main desk in the lobby to ask if they'd warn the workers below about the imminent ducket arrival, and to ask if maybe they could move the generator round the corner so it wasn't so loud...
... only to discover that Mrs Mallard was clearly about to leave the nest! He whipped out his phone, filmed her leaving and counted the 9 ducklings as they plopped out onto the balcony. He had to get the ducklings down then and there!
As he had before, he went out, got shouted at by the momma duck (and she sprayed him with poo!) who then took off as he started to load the ducklings into the ducket. But many of them ran off to hide behind planters. He found 8, but one was missing...
Cue five minutes of FRANTIC searching of the balcony. Mrs Mallard went off to the water and he was so worried the bond was going to be broken due to the generator noise, but the ducket was still amplifying their peeps, and they'd had a lot of bonding time since hatching.
He FINALLY found the last duckling who'd managed to get around one of the barriers and was literally 2 inches from the drop of death! Dad (thank goodness he had military training - I'd be dead of stress by then) scooped them up, put them in the bucket and started lowering.
Mrs Mallard came back to circle the bucket mid-air, quacking loudly, as Dad was shouting down to the workmen to try to get some help, but the generator was so loud they couldn't hear him as he was so far up! Can you imagine?!
But thankfully, one of the blokes down there did hear him, and looked pretty confused for a few moments! Then he clocked what was happening, grabbed the bucket when it got to the ground and followed Dad's instructions to let the ducklings out.
Poor Dad was stranded on the balcony, helpless, as Mrs Mallard was unable to use her previous route to the water due to the barriers and workers down there. She went a different route and was briefly separated from the gaggle of ducklings who started to wander off without her!
Dad was hollering guidance to the bloke below who started to corral them back together, then a woman on a bike stopped to help and eventually the family got to the water. My poor Dad was a bit of a wreck! I was, just when he was telling me what happened!
Anyway, all's well that ends well! They swam off, Dad saw they were all together and safe and then he could breathe again! Turns out the lifts were only out of service for 15 minutes - just happened to be the most crucial 15 minutes of the day!
Dad cleaned himself up and went to go and thank the bloke below but the work had finished and they'd gone! So if anyone knows a guy who did some work on Salford Quays early this morning who helped out with #operationmallard 3 - please connect us!
And to think we were expecting this one to be easy as the weather was fine and there was no wind! Nope. Even more dramatic than the others! Dad made the decision to go ahead and hope the men below would help, and I am so glad they did.
So even though Dad's stand-by helpers didn't get called in (they would have taken too long to arrive at that time in the morning), a bloke just doing his job at the base of the building stepped up. There are good people in the world. And now we can all relax!
... And now you can see why I told you they were all safe first thing this morning! I am a monster when it comes to writing fiction, but to tell you about all that happened WITHOUT knowing they were all okay? That would have been too cruel! Lots of love to you all x
Oh, just wanted to add that there will be a video, but probably in about a week as I am about to start a large audiobook narration gig. Dad has sent me all sorts of video chunks, but I need time to sort through them to make something with a cohesive narrative like the others.

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More from @EmApocalyptic

21 Jun
Calling all #operationmallard lovelies! I have an update on the current nesting duck on Dad's balcony.

If you just read that and wondered if you were having a Groundhog day moment, you might have missed this thread:
So Dad and I were expecting the current clutch of 9 eggs to hatch on Wednesday. However, he phoned me this morning to say that Momma duck's behaviour ('OG Mrs Mallard' from 2020) has changed today, so they might be hatching earlier than we thought!
He counted the 28 (+/- 1) day incubation period from the first day that she sat for 22 hours on the eggs. However, the day before that she sat for 12 hours, and the weather up there has been really warm and sunny for weeks, so....
Read 17 tweets
24 May
Ummmm... #operationmallard lovelies? I have some unexpected news and you might want to get a drink and a blanket. I am quite nervous about telling you all about this, I have to say.

I got this message from my Dad a couple of days ago: Picture of a duck in the pl...
He said he did a proper double-take. He couldn't believe it. It was like Groundhog Day, but with ducks. He was just stumbling to the kitchen first thing in the morning, glanced out the window... and there was a duck there!

He sent back: "Well, it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck... yep, it's a duck 🦆😯"

I phoned him. "Is it Mrs Mallard?" I asked, very worried that she had returned so quickly. Where were the ducklings? What was going on?
Read 21 tweets
4 May
Lovelies, I have an #operationmallard update! A BIG ONE! Pull up a chair, maybe grab a blanket and a cuppa? You're about to get on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster...
I got a message from my Dad at about 8:30am, saying that Operation Mallard 2 was about to begin! I replied, wishing him luck, then he phoned and said he'd seen two tiny little duckling heads peeping out so far. One problem though: the wind.
A storm blew through yesterday with gale force winds and rain. Today it's much sunnier but the wind this morning was still just over 20mph - and 9 floors up, it really whips around the building.
Read 20 tweets
3 May
Good morning, my lovelies. In case you missed it last night, I've put an update video on YouTube all about how Dad is preparing for the big day - he made some footage for you containing cute diagrams! #operationmallard
A few people have asked why he's not just taking them down in the lift. He feels that the bucket approach causes the least distress to Mrs Mallard, makes sure that the maternal bond is preserved and is also the fastest solution.
Using the 'ducket' means that Momma and ducklings can hear each other throughout - which is absolutely critical - and it's only a few seconds of separation. Also far, far less stressful for them than many minutes of trying to corral them all through an alien environment.
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Lovelies, I've just had a chat with Dad and there are a couple of updates I thought you might like if you're following #operationmallard :) First is regarding Mr Mallard as a few of you have asked about him. I've been fixated on Mrs Mallard, so never asked him before!
So Mr Mallard is nearby! He stands on the big white bridge over the canal and they quack at each other! Earlier in the nesting cycle, they saw much more of each other - she lays an egg per day so they had to... do some lovin' daily ;) [feels so British and awkward!]
Once all the eggs were laid, he called for her on most days and they would go off for a bit of time together, when she wasn't off on the razzle with the other ducks who came calling for her. She's quite popular, our Mrs Mallard ;)
Read 8 tweets
28 Apr
Oh. My. Goodness. Okay... errrr... well my tweet thread yesterday about my Dad and #operationmallard seems to have gone viral.

Umm... good morning everyone who's now invested in this story. I shall do my very best to look after you. Just need to finish this cup of tea...
My stream is moving so fast and I am so overwhelmed I can't reply to everyone otherwise my brain will get too fried and I won't be able to do the thing I want to work on today. But please do keep sending your stories about ducks and other birds nesting at your homes!
Honestly, the absolute bestest thing is all the people saying it's brightened their day. YAY! I am so glad! I wish I could make you all a cup of tea (or other comforting beverage of your choice) and give you a hug. #operationmallard updates will have to suffice though!
Read 7 tweets

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