On Monday 21 June, Virgil Jones from the Department of Estate’s landscaping team plucked four ducklings to safety – despite coming under attack from their mother.

Virgil was working at the bottom of the Quarry Road when a woman pulled up to tell him she’d spotted a mother duck with her ducklings in the the road and in danger of being run over.

Although unsure about if he could do anything to keep them safe, Virgil headed over to find that four of the ducklings had fallen down a metre-deep storm drain.

Virgil managed to pull off the grill and scoop the little ducklings up, which was no easy task – not least because their protective mother was trying to attack him.

“The mother duck flew towards me, and I told her: ‘That’ll do’”, Jones recalls.

Sam Espley, a PhD Researcher in Chemistry, who had also seen the ducks came to help by trying to keep the mother occupied and watch out for traffic.

Luckily, the rescue mission was a success. Virgil checked that the birds hadn't suffered any injuries before they headed safely towards the University grounds.

This wasn't the first time he'd intervened in situations with birds in trouble: “They don’t have a voice, we need to help them, even if they don’t understand that is what we’re doing.”

Sam was delighted with Virgil’s determination: “Virgil was amazing and it made me feel great about the University I now attend for my postgraduate degree.”