Line worker on a duck-saving mission

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DTE Energy line workers do a lot for our communities by keeping our lights on and working tirelessly to restore it when it goes out. However, once in a while they get a chance to do things a little out of the normal – like using a bucket truck to save baby ducks trapped in a nest that was too high to fly out of.

Dispatchers received a call from the University of Michigan Hospital June 27, requesting help with nine ducklings stuck in an exterior vent 25 feet above ground. Hospital staff had noticed the distressed mother duck pacing back and forth at the opening of the vent and later discovered the ducklings stuck inside.

“Normally we call pest management with issues such as this, but when they came they said they were only allowed to go 12 to 16 feet high,” said Leeanne Holtzhouse-Maynard, sergeant, Department of Public Safety and Security, University of Michigan. “So I started brainstorming about community partners that may be able to help. I knew we did a lot of work with DTE and I thought I’d give it a try.”

Bob Tanasen, DTE Energy line worker, animal lover and owner of four dogs, was happy to take on the rescue mission. Tanasen secured his bucket truck at the site, raised himself to the vent and collected the ducklings in a cardboard box. The ducklings were given water and released back to their anxious mother.

Tanasen mentioned that he has received calls in the past to rescue cats stuck in trees and other similar issues, but this was his first encounter with ducks. He also said it was his first encounter with social media as he caught wind of the DTE Energy Facebook post on the save that was shared by more than 140 people.

The University of Michigan will be placing a barrier on the vent to prevent ducks from nesting there in the future said Holtzhouse-Maynard.

“We’ve rescued many ducks over the years, but this is the first one I can recall that was this high level,” said Holtzhouse-Maynard.  “We appreciate the partnership and help from DTE Energy. It definitely goes above and beyond our expectations.”