Chirping in the parking lot of the Smith Haven Mall led Suffolk County police officers to a storm drain where a group of ducklings were found trapped and separated from their mother on Saturday morning.
Three Suffolk County police officers answered the 8:40 a.m. call and arrived at the scene, near the mall's south entrance in Lake Grove.
"You could hear them chirping down there," Sgt. William Leonard said. "They had fallen through the openings in the metal grate."
They used a crowbar to pry open the heavy drain cover -- all while the mother duck was nearby, police said.
Officer Michael Cummings then climbed down into the damp, dark sewer with a bucket.
One by one, he gathered up the ducklings. There were 10 little ones in all, police said.
With the bucket under one arm, he climbed back up, handing over the hourlong rescue operation to fellow Officer Richard Raynock.
"He then turned the bucket over and the little ducklings walked out and went off with their mother," Leonard said. "She was never too far away."