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Washington Elementary holds fourth annual duck walk

  • A hen mallard began gathered her babies and led them from the courtyard into the school Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • Baby mallard ducks followed their mother from the courtyard into the school Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • A hen mallard led her babies down the school hallway and out a back door Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • A hen mallard led her babies down the school hallway and out a back door Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • A hen mallard led her babies out the back door and across the playground, where students were gathered to watch, Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • A hen mallard and her 11 babies were safe in the creek behind Washington Elementary School Wednesday morning. (Press photo James Grob.)

  • A hen mallard led her babies out the back door and across the playground, where students were gathered to watch, Wednesday at Washington Elementary. (Press photo James Grob.)

By James Grob, jgrob@charlescitypress.com

For the fourth year in a row, a group of baby ducks took their first long walk — and it was down the hallway at Washington Elementary School.

On Wednesday morning at exactly 9 a.m., a mallard hen led 11 baby ducks out of their nest, into the school, down the school hallway, out the back door, across the playground, through a wooded area and into a nearby creek.

The hen had nested in the courtyard of the school this spring, the fourth consecutive year she has done so, and her ducklings hatched this weekend. The only way out of the courtyard — if you can’t yet fly — is through the school. Students and teachers gathered and quietly watched in amazement and delight as their duckling friends entered the world.

The mother hen seemed nervous and started to pace around the courtyard 24-36 hours after the baby ducklings had hatched. Washington school faculty is instructed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on how to best let the ducks in, and out again.

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