Ducks on parade

May 10—GOSHEN — The ducks have safely made it to the end of their adventure.

At Waterford Crossing, another generation of ducklings was escorted to the pond.

"They've done this for years," Waterford Crossing Life Enrichment Director Jenna Barghahn said.

Barghahn explained that one year, a mother duck flew into the Waterford Crossing Health Center's inner courtyard, and laid her eggs there.

So they put a kiddie pool, food and water out for the mother and her ducklings.

As the ducklings grew, though, they became a strain on the staff and quickly outgrew that little space and the tiny pool. Barghahn explained that the staff spends around 35 minutes every day just cleaning the sidewalks.

"We keep them for a while and let them get bigger, and then we release them," she said.

It's become an annual tradition, as a mother duck continues to lay eggs in the courtyard every late March or early April.

"We're wondering if it's the same mom or if they're related," Barghahn said. "I don't even know if ducks know if they're related."

Every May, once the babies are big enough, the staff and the residents host a "duck parade," where residents line the lobby and staff guide the ducks out of the courtyard, through the lobby, out the front door, across the parking lot and grass, to the nearby pond. Residents love it, Barghahn said, with people cheering and gawking as the ducks pass by, and some staff children even coming to witness the annual event.

"We try to do a lot of really fun things for them and this is a highlight of every year," she said.

Last year's ducklings stayed on the campus even after they were released to the pond. They'd visit bird feeders and look in the back windows of the condos.

"This year, two moms came, and they had nests under different bushes," Barghahn said. "One of the moms stayed, and she sat on her nest for about four weeks and her 12 eggs never hatched, so then she joined them and helped take care of them. They've actually had two moms for like the last week."

Mama Duck Haddie and her ducklings are Randy, Daisy, Bingo, Huey, Skipper, Amy, Elmer, Gorgie, Esther, Donald, Daisy Mae and Louie. They were named by residents.

Mama 2, Henrietta, wasn't able to make it to the parade Friday morning, but she joined her found family enjoying the pond afterward when the crowds died down. Barghahn said it was the first year they had two mother ducks.

Account Executive for Traditions Health Laurie Schauer served as an adequate second duck for the residents of Waterford Crossing during the parade though.

Schauer found out about the duck parade during an advisory board meeting the night before and knew she wanted to join in.

"Why not do something goofy and make something silly of yourself and make people happy?" Schauer said.

She wasn't able to find a duck costume to be delivered in time, so she and a co-worker created a crazy outfit featuring yellow feathers, a pretend duck bill, and a bright yellow shirt that read "Pretend I'm A Duck." Not for the ducks. Ducks can't read.

"I love this," Schauer said. "I do this a lot for buildings I go to. Leprechauns, Cupid, bunnies, elves."

She did order the duck costume to wear for next year's duck parade, assuming the ducks come back next year.

Dani Messick is the education and entertainment reporter for The Goshen News. She can be reached at or at 574-538-2065.