Why did the ducklings cross the road … and fall into a storm drain?

It’s a common spring scenario all over the country, and sadly it’s often deadly for the babies.

Wildlife expert Bryan Lueth with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told Minnesota news outlet BringMeTheNews that mother ducks on their way to wetlands will sometimes walk along a curb, not realizing that doing so is dangerous to their chicks.

When the little birds try to waddle across the grate openings, they can easily fall through and into the storm sewer.

But fortunately for one family of ducks, a police officer on Sunday “sprung into action” and saved nine little ones from a drain near Bellevue Downtown Park, police said.

“It is heartbreaking to watch a mother duck frantically circling the grate, calling to her young,” Rutgers Wildlife Conservation and Management said in an online post. “Fortunately, we can lend her a helping hand.”

In the post, the program recommends using a long steel rod or crowbar to lift the sewer grate, then using a kitchen strainer or other readily available tool to scoop up the ducklings and return them to their very appreciative, relieved mother.

The site goes on to say that local police, fire or utility agencies will often be willing and able to help if you can’t do it on your own.