Mike Plumides of Charlotte, North Carolina, recently saved seven ducklings from a storm drain after spotting the baby birds' distressed mother while driving.

By Michelle Boudin
June 03, 2021 05:22 PM
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It was the frantic squeals of a mother duck that got Mike Plumides attention.

"She was circling the storm drain and quacking loudly. She was clearly in distress, so I realized she must have some ducklings because she just kept circling that drain," he tells PEOPLE.

The 56-year-old filmmaker from Charlotte, North Carolina, spotted the distressed duck near a storm drain while driving and immediately pulled over to help.

Plumides quickly realized he would need assistance lifting the drain's giant iron grate to reach the ducklings stuck inside. Kathy Rowan was out for a walk in the neighborhood when she came upon the scene shortly after Plumides pulled over.

"The mother was in so much distress, and I said, 'Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?' I knew I couldn't lift the grate," Rowan recalls.

Plumides flagged down another driver, and together the two men moved the grate. With the storm drain's cover out of the way, Plumides lowered himself down, and Rowan took out her cell phone to capture video of the rescue.

"I climbed down in, and luckily, about four feet down, there was another drain coming from the other side of the street so I could put my foot on that to help me down," Plumides says. "Thankfully, we haven't had much rain, so it was pretty dry. When I got down there, I could see seven ducklings, and they were all huddled in the corner together."

man saves ducklings
Credit: Kathy rowan

At first, the ducklings weren't sure what to make of their hero.

"I went down in, and they were scared at first, so they would jump out of my hand. They didn't know I was there to save them," the Good Samaritan says.

Eventually, Plumides managed to pluck up all the baby ducks and tenderly set them near mom on the grass above the drain. Once the first three were out, the mother duck calmed down.

"She stayed about ten feet away the whole time watching what I was doing, but she was no longer in distress. Once I put the last two out, she came back down, and they all gathered together and continued to walk on," Plumides says.

Rowan says she cried seeing the reunion.

"Oh gosh, it almost took my breath away. It was such a sweet thing seeing the ducklings come out, and seeing the mother was the most incredible thing. The way she all of a sudden saw her babies and just calmed down. It was the sweetest thing I've ever seen," Rown remembers

Plumides says it was harder to get himself out of the drain than it was to get in so by the time he resurfaced, the ducks were gone.

"I didn't even get to say goodbye, but it made me happy. I cried after. I cried happy tears that I did something good and hopefully inspired others to do good."