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'Duck Cheney' and family get new home

Mother duck, 9 ducklings, move from Treasury building to a park

The new mom guards her tiny ducklings.
Tourism and Leisure
U.S. Wildlife Service
National Park Service

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A mallard and her nine ducklings -- a small tourist attraction nesting outside the U.S. Treasury building -- were moved Sunday to a nearby park.

The U.S. Secret Service had been watching over the wild duck since she set up housekeeping outside the building in early April to sit on her eggs, which hatched Saturday night.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Wildlife Service then teamed up to take the fowl family to Rock Creek Park, which runs through the center of the nation's capital.

"There's still water in the creek and great places for the ducks to forage" and "we think it's a wonderful opportunity for this duck and her ducklings to have a new life and to be in not quite such an urban environment," said the park's chief ranger, Laura Illige.

The duck acquired several nicknames from Treasury workers and other people passing by the building. Names included "Quacks Reform," "T-Bill" and "Duck Cheney."

A crowd of tourists and members of the news media watched Sunday as Kevin Sullivan, the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service specialist, captured the duck and her ducklings and put them in a yellow-and-red cage for the move.

The event was accompanied by an outburst of quacking and a bit of panic for the mother duck.

Sullivan said the Treasury Department asked him to help after the eggs hatched. The relocation, Sullivan said, permits the ducks to "live what we hope is a happy life there and a better situation than right here around the busy traffic."

The ducklings' youth should not affect their ability to survive the move. "When the ducks are born they are ready to go right away," he said.

Among the spectators were 43 middle-school children from suburban Kansas City, Missouri, on a class trip.

"This is very cool," said one student, "I've never seen anything like this."

"We're used to seeing ducks," said another student, "but not in a city like this."

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