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Small bills leave bank - ducks taken to water

April 08, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Joe Miller made an unusual withdrawal Wednesday at Harris Savings Bank - a dozen bills.

The animal control officer retrieved a mother duck and her 11 newborns from the building at Long Meadow Shopping Center. He took them to the C&O Canal at Williamsport and let the feathered family go.

"It's amazing where we find wildlife these days," said Keller Haden, animal control supervisor.

Employees of the Hagerstown bank became concerned when they saw the mallard and her ducklings waddle into the parking lot. With the help of a few bystanders, they corralled the birds into the bank.

The mother duck apparently took up residence at the bank several weeks ago. Employees often saw her in shrubs beside the bank entrance.

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"We knew she was nesting," said supervisor Peggy Overcash.

On Wednesday morning, the mallard emerged with her ducklings.

"Got All Your Financial Ducks In A Row?" a window sign behind her nest read.

"All of a sudden, we had baby ducks," said Overcash.

"It was just like she brought them to show us what she had for Easter," said Cynthia Kreigh.

When the birds went behind the bank into the parking lot, Overcash got worried. She went outside with teller Nathan Fahnestock and a cardboard box, hoping to catch them.

"They just kept ducking under cars," said Fahnestock. When he managed to get one duckling in the box, the mother rescued it. Eventually, bystanders joined in the effort.

"We all converged and moved them through the door," Fahnestock said.

Overcash called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Until the animal control officer arrived, ducklings entertained the customers. "They were all cheeping and carrying on," said Overcash.

"One woman thought we were giving them away," said Kreigh.

Normally, the animal control department does not relocate wildlife, according to Haden. "But we knew that was a pretty hazardous area," she said.

The bank also has no body of water for the birds.

Officer Miller arrived, scooped up the quacking crew and drove them to the Cushwa Basin near Williamsport. The mallard took her ducklings for a swim.

"She took them off into the water and into the sunset," Haden said.

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