Firefighters in St. Petersburg, Fla., rescued nine ducklings from a storm drain near a shopping mall after getting a call from a passerby who noticed the chicks' agitated mother pacing back and forth above the drain.
Passerby Mitchel McNeally said the ducklings' mother appeared frustrated.
"She wouldn't leave the spot for anything, even as I got close to it. I knew something was wrong," he said, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.
Firefighters responded to McNeally's call within a matter of minutes.
The duck was upset, but allowed rescuers to approach the grate.
Rescuers descended into the grate and gingerly lifted each fuzzy animal to the surface, where all but one made a beeline for its mother. The ninth duckling seemed frightened and ran through a parking lot before a firefigther caught up with it and returned it to its flock.
McNeally said he couldn't ignore the duck's cries.
"When somebody needs help, you got to try to help them as best you can," he told the Times. "Even if that somebody is a duck."