Duck Nested On Family’s Seventh-Floor Balcony During Both UK Lockdowns

When you remember the Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantine, the first thing that jumps into your head probably isn’t “making new friends.” For many of us, it was a time of uncertainty and isolation — but that wasn’t the case for lucky Londoner Johanna Kolerski-Bezerra and her family.

As the UK was plunged into not one, but two lockdowns in February of 2020 and 2021, Kolerski-Bezerra documented an unusual new relationship that suddenly became part of her life.

Described as “a wonderful guest,” a duck decided that Kolerski-Bezerra’s 7th-floor balcony in the middle of a “dense urban area” was the perfect place to nest and hatch her ducklings!

Photo: Unsplash

In February of 2020, the mallard, who came to be known as Carmen in Kolerski-Bezerra’s frequent Twitter updates, nested in an unused plant pot, eventually hatching a small number of ducklings and flying off for the summer’s mating season.

Most of the ducklings were able to be transported to a local pond. While a visit from a family of ducks on the seventh floor of an apartment block is news enough, what really made it special was Carmen’s subsequent return in February of 2021, just in time for the UK’s second round of lockdowns. “Guess who’s back?” Read a celebratory tweet on February 25th. “This time around, her birth partner is here with her.”

PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE

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PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE
PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE

On April 8th, Carmen’s eggs once again hatched! On the 10th, Kolerski-Bezerra’s family set up a dog crate with shelter, bedding, and food for the ducklings and their intrepid mother. With a new group of hatchlings to care for, the family enlisted the help of The Swan Sanctuary, a British non-profit that advocates for wildlife and fowl in the UK.

“The new thing we learnt this year was to call for help,” Kolerski-Bezerra told iflscience.com. “Getting a duck and ducklings off a balcony is hard! Two volunteers from the Swan Sanctuary, Gill & Andy, came and without them we couldn’t have done it. All of us took the duck family to the nearest pond, Waterglade in the East Village.”

PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE
PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE

There, Carmen and her ducklings were released into the water. Immediately, the mother and her 16 children took to it and happily began to swim away, with the exception of one little guy. “One of the little ducklings stayed behind; he just didn’t want to go in the water. So, instead, he went to the Swan Sanctuary to become stronger,” Kolerski-Bezerra explained on Twitter. Reflecting on the improbable journey taken with Carmen and the ducklings, she added, “We’ll be missing them,” to a photo taken shortly before their release.

PHOTO: TWITTER / @JOHANNAKOBE

Although the story of Carmen seems to be over for now, who knows what might happen in February of 2022?

See more photos and read more on the story of Carmen and the Kolerski-Bezerra family at Johanna’s official Twitter page, and learn more about the important work done by The Swan Sanctuary at their official site!

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