Ducks on campus: Grad student takes a gander

Graduate student Natalie Gagnon was met by a pleasant surprise last week when running late to class on the West campus.

"I came upon this mallard mom accompanying her ducklings across campus," says Gagnon, currently in summer session, earning her teacher certification in special education.  

She says she is not a photographer, but that she had to stop and take some shots.

"I have worked as a naturalist in the past, teaching science to K-12 students in wilderness settings."

When Gagnon tried to move closer to the action with her cell phone camera, mama mallard stood her ground.

"She protectively hissed at me and her ducklings knew to quietly gather near her for safety," Gagnon says.

The photos of the ducks, taken at the southeast corner of campus, outside the University Center building, reminded Gagnon of another event.

"Last semester, I spotted a mallard couple enjoying the pool in the Sands building courtyard," she says. "Perhaps this is the product of their 'romance.'"