Kevin Quillin, of Southold, kneels down by the drain where...

Kevin Quillin, of Southold, kneels down by the drain where he rescued ducklings. Quillin climbed down a 15 foot drain to rescue ducklings that had fallen through a storm drain on Route 48 in Southold. (June 3, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

A Southold man can now add duckling rescuer to his resume.

Kevin Quillin of Southold spent part of Sunday morning 15 feet under Middle Road in Southold, rescuing six hapless ducklings that apparently had fallen through the grating covering the road drain.

Quillin, 54, who owns a landscaping business, said he was driving to his barn around 7:30 a.m. when he saw a gathering on the side of the road and stopped to see if he could help.

Sgt. Richard Perkins said police had responded to the scene about 7:30 a.m. after reports that motorists were swerving around the mother duck, who had been walking back and forth on the road near the drain.

Perkins said police were joined by two off-duty highway department workers, who brought a town tractor to lift the heavy grates off the drains. Quillin said he could hear the cries of the ducklings in the drain, and the sound of the frantic mother duck nearby in the weeds.

Quillin went to his barn and retrieved a ladder and crowbars. He said he jumped into a shallow roadside gutter and rescued two of the ducklings, but soon discovered there were more trapped in the deeper drain in the middle of the road. "I didn't want to see the little ducklings die down there," he said.

Quillin said he used his ladder to climb down and find the remaining ducklings, who ran toward his flashlight and sat in his hand as he brought them up.

"They were happy to be rescued," he said. "They didn't put up a fight. I think they knew they were in good hands."Quillin said he handed each duckling to a police officer, who deposited them into the weeds near the mother.

The rescue of the six ducklings took about 20 minutes, after which Quillin continued on his previous Sunday morning mission of picking up some plants, he said.

"I think anybody would have done the same thing," he said. "It kind of makes you feel good after things like that."

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