Mother Duck Leads Baby Ducklings on Waddle Through Michigan School

PHOTO: Vanessa the duck leads her offspring through the halls of the Village Elementary school in Hartland, Mich., April 28, 2016.PlayGillis Benedict/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus via AP
WATCH Mother Leads Ducklings Through School Halls

A mother duck continued her yearly tradition of walking her ducklings through a Michigan school’s hallways to get them safely to a nearby pond.

The staff at Village Elementary School in Hartland, Michigan, taped the school's hallways last Thursday with black construction paper to make the the ducks feel more comfortable on their walk. It is something staff members have done every year since the duck, nicknamed Vanessa, first showed up in the school’s courtyard 13 years ago.

“There’s a center courtyard in the middle of the school and she’s made her home there,” school principal William Cain told ABC News.

When Vanessa hatched her first set of eggs, Cain said the staff and students were "awestruck." One teacher, Ruth Darrah, took the lead in quickly figuring out how to care for the ducklings.

“She found they needed to be in water within 24 to 48 hours so she made a path through the hallways,” Cain said of Darrah. "We make sure it’s clear for them."

PHOTO: Vanessa the duck leads her offspring through the halls of the Village Elementary school in Hartland, Mich., April 28, 2016. Gillis Benedict/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus via AP
Vanessa the duck leads her offspring through the halls of the Village Elementary school in Hartland, Mich., April 28, 2016.

Last Thursday afternoon, as she has done so many times before, Vanessa led her 11 ducklings through the school and across the playground into a wetland area where the ducklings remain.

“The very first time it took a while because she was very leery,” Cain said of Vanessa, who was named because the letter "v" is also in the school's name. “But this time I don’t think it took more than two or three minutes to get out."

He added, "It’s just like she knows how now.”