'Quackers day' as almost 70 ducks returned to the wild

ducks released back into the wild

Paige Burnham with one of the young ducks which have been released back into the wild - Credit: RSPCA

A Norfolk RSPCA officer had a bit of a ‘quackers’ day when she was asked to release a staggering 69 ducks back to the wild during one shift.

Animal rescue officer Paige Burnham was asked by her colleagues at East Winch Wildlife Centre near King's Lynn if she could help with the release of some ducks - but she never imagined it would be quite so many.

She made so many trips to release the birds she managed to clock up in excess of 13,000 steps - thought to be over six miles.

RSPCA duck release

The ducks being cared for at East Winch Wildlife Centre - Credit: RSPCA

The young wild mallard ducks had been in the care of the wildlife centre since the spring. Most had been brought in because they were orphaned, had fallen down drains or were sick or injured.

On average most were around 10 weeks old and had reached the point where they were ready and old enough to fend for themselves.


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The birds were released earlier this month along parts of the River Great Ouse.

RSPCA duck release

The ducks take off to enjoy their new-found freedom on the River Great Ouse - Credit: RSPCA

Miss Burnham said: “When the centre asked if I could help with the release of some ducks I was happy to help - I just didn’t think there would be quite so many.

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“In total I released 69 - one batch of 34 and another of 35. As they were two in each carrier it took quite a while to take them to the river location and release them.

“Just walking back and forth from the van to the location I clocked up some 13,000 steps! But it really was worth it as it was just wonderful to see so many birds being released at one time."

RSPCA duck release

Some of the birds were just days old when they were brought in to East Winch Wildlife Centre - Credit: RSPCA

Ben Kirby, manager at East Winch, said: “It’s always great when you can release a wild animal back to where they belong and it’s great that we have been able to help so many ducks.

“Most of these would have come into us when they were just little ducklings so we’ve watched them grow up in our care. They come in for a lot of reasons but many are due to being orphaned or falling down drains."

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