Mother wood duck heads for the exit Saturday, her ducklings in tow. (Art Knapp Dirt University image)

WATCH: Mother wood duck and ducklings leave South Surrey roost

“We know at least three (ducklings) made it”

The stars of Art Knapp Surrey’s Dirt University YouTube channel have flown the coop.

Or, more accurately, jumped from it.

Ducklings that hatched in a barn-owl box Friday were marched out of sight of a camera that has been monitoring the nesting box for the past three years on Saturday morning.

“They’re all gone,” Lisa Finkle, who handles advertising for the store and is involved with conservation projects underway at the King George Boulevard property, told Peace Arch News Monday.

The life and times of the mother wood duck and her seven youngsters had been rolling live for the past month.

Finkle had predicted shortly before 5 p.m. Friday that the mass exit was imminent.

At that time, it had been about 10 hours since the ducklings had hatched in the barn-owl box – one of 12 whisky-barrel nests that have been on the King George Boulevard property for the past 20 years.

Typically, they hit the road with mom about 10 hours after hatching, Finkle said.

She noted the wood duck’s use of the nesting box was a first for the program; described as “very unusual,” particularly since the roost is about 30 feet off the ground.

It’s believed the mother may have been displaced by nearby habitat disturbance; such as a barn that was dismantled about two months ago.

In an effort to boost the ducklings’ odds of making it into the waters of the nearby Fen, Art Knapp’s Marty Vander Zalm used a tarp to create a slide of sorts that would soften their journey from the nest to the ground.

In other words, so they wouldn’t jump to their deaths.

The only other concern was whether they’d survive the journey across the road, Finkle said.

Saturday morning, “two or three” crows and a pair of eagles were apparently keeping a close eye on the trek; and later that afternoon, momma duck and just three ducklings were spotted paddling.

“We know at least three (of the ducklings) made it. They jumped at 10:16 on Saturday morning.”

The live feed has a host of followers who’ve been eagerly watching the wood ducks’ story unfold.

With the ducks now out of the picture, the Dirt University camera has returned its focus to a whisky-barrel nest where four barn-owl owlets have hatched.

Finkle estimates they’ll leave the nest in “two or three weeks.”

She described the survival of the four – out of five eggs laid – as “really good.”

“We’ve added to a population of a species that’s slowly dying because their habitat’s slowly being taken away from them,” she said.

As there are only two cameras set up, and because the program’s policy is not to interfere, Finkle said there is no way to know if there are more owlets in the other 10 whisky boxes.

“We don’t interefere with anything. We just really hope it matters to somebody,” she said.

Efforts to expand the conservation work are ongoing, with goals including to add more cameras and encourage schools to make use of the opportunities the program presents to learn more about the species.

To tune in to the owl cam, visit youtube.com

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

‘New’ truck, trailer donated to the BC Vintage Truck Museum

Ownership of 1928 Graham truck, 1949 Langford trailer officially transferred on Saturday

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read