A family of 12 made the East Hampton Library courtyard its new home last week, when a mallard hen became mother to 11 ducklings.
“I guess the mother flew in, but nobody saw her hiding in the bushes until last Thursday, when all of the ducklings appeared,” said Dennis Fabiszak, the director of the library.
Now trapped within the walls of the courtyard, the brace of ducks has nowhere to go. So the East Hampton librarians have taken them under their wing.
“The staff have all chipped in. They are like the library’s children,” Mr. Fabiszak said.
Within the courtyard, staff members have installed a full kiddie pool, a feeding tray with bird feed, and a water container. The water in the kiddie pool is changed daily to combat the heat.
As the mother duck watched close by, the ducklings splashed in the water and pecked away at the mounds of feed in the tray. But when someone stepped out into the courtyard, they all waddled away behind their mother into the bushes. They have made their home there, there, but it doesn’t mean they feel completely comfortable around humans yet.
Looking ahead, no one is exactly sure what is going to happen with them. “The staff are worried about them going over to the pond,” said Mr. Fabiszak. They had recently heard of a gosling being killed by a snapping turtle across the street.
“I think calling local animal control will be the best option,” Mr. Fabiszak said on Tuesday.
Dell Cullum, the owner of Hampton Wildlife Removal and Rescue and a contributing nature photographer for The Star, had some different ideas for the future of the ducks. “What they should do is let them get to be a little bigger. Get some duckweed from the [David’s Lane] Nature Trail and let them eat it, so when they are brought to the Nature Trail they will know what to eat and will have a better chance to survive,” he said.
“Ducks have so many predators — fox, turtle, raccoon — that they need every advantage they can get.”
For now, visitors can check out the ducklings from the windows of the courtyard at the library.