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American Today


Snapped on Campus

ISSS Office Lends Hand to Fine-Feathered Family

By Adrienne Frank

Myrtle and her five ducklings made themselves at home on the fourth floor Butler terrace. (Photo: Jeff Watts)

Faculty and staff flocked to the fourth floor Butler terrace last week for a glimpse of fertile Myrtle and her five day-old ducklings.

The feathery brood nested outside the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office, under several overturned chairs to protect them from hungry hawks. 

It was the second time the ISSS staff took Myrtle under their wing; last May, the expectant mama, perched on nine eggs, enjoyed lettuce, chopped eggs, and worms, courtesy of her two-legged friends.

“She returned to the exact same spot as though she had a duck GPS,” said Michael Roehm, ISSS senior international student advisor.

On May 27, Senem Bakar of ISSS and Lee Prouty of Gaithersburg’s Second Chance Wildlife Center transported Myrtle and her babies to the Korean embassy, where they’ll reside in a pond.

Prouty also helped the ISSS staff last year, by moving the fine-feathered family to Little Falls Creek. Roehm said they opted for the embassy this year because “the roaring water from all the rain last week would have swept the ducklings away, and they probably would have drowned.”

Roehm said he enjoyed watching the entire ISSS team rally around Myrtle. “We humans did all that we could do; the rest is up to Mama Nature.”