Washington, May 2 (Reuters): A duck who hatched her brood under the watchful eyes of the US Secret Service took swimmingly to motherhood yesterday, guiding her 11 ducklings unerringly to water with the assistance of at least three government departments.
Fittingly for a duck who laid a clutch of eggs at the doorstep of the US treasury department, she did it on public land, in Rock Creek Park, the forested ravine that bisects the capital. 'This is an excellent habitat. We're happy to take her under our wing,' said Laura Illige, the park's chief ranger.
The duck, a common mallard, laid a clutch of eggs early last month in a mulch pile at treasury, next door to the White House in downtown Washington.
She quickly became a star tourist attraction on the busy pedestrian plaza. Treasury department officials erected security barriers to shield the waterfowl from onlookers and from protesters during an international summit.
The fate of the mallard and her brood appeared to warm the icy hearts of bureaucrats and journalists eager for a diversion from fiscal policy.
Government officials provided regular updates on security improvements and hatching plans. Television reporters interviewed bystanders in front of the nest and treasury correspondents traded duck gossip.