As a Lockeford man pulled into his driveway at 8 a.m. Wednesday, he saw something sticking up in his yard. At first, he thought it was trash or some type of weed.
But then he saw a little yellow head pop up. And then a black fuzzy head. And then a yellow head with a black spot on top that he described as an afro.
That's when Larry Cooper realized there were 26 baby ducks huddled in his front yard. When he got closer, he could hear their quiet quacks, but there was no mother in sight.
So he thought about what ducks like and pulled out a sprinkler. Several hours later, the ducklings were alternating from flapping around in the water on the sidewalk to eating from the bucket of food he placed in the shade.
"I don't know how they got here," said the befuddled Cooper. "I just want them to be safe."
The ducks have striking differences in colors, from a bright yellow duckling to a jet black one. The 4- to 5-inch-tall birds stick together, often running in disjointed packs around Cooper's yard. They like to run back and forth through the sprinkler, settling into the shallow pools of water and dipping their heads.
The ducks are not wild, and Cooper has no idea how they ended up in his yard. They appeared sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday.
He said it is possible multiple female ducks laid eggs in the area and for some reason abandoned their chicks. Robinson's Feed Company does sell ducklings across the street, but an employee had not noticed any missing ones, Cooper said.
"With that many of them, they would've noticed that they were gone," Cooper said.
Plus, he does not think the ducklings move fast enough to cross fast-paced Highway 88.
Cooper said another possibility is that someone abandoned them there.
Regardless of how they got there, he is surprised they decided to stay in his yard.
"It just boggles my mind because they picked the one with two big dogs," Cooper said.
He is hoping some local residents interested in raising ducks will come get them for free. He wants to get them adopted as soon as possible because he is worried they will wander out into traffic or could be in danger at night from predators.
"There are people out there who love ducks. There's enough people out there with small pond who would want them," he said.