It wasn’t a pretty sight, so Bruce Hampson swung into action.
A large brood of quail — two adults and a host of tiny, fluffy babies — were walking near Hampson’s Wheeler Avenue home in Parksville when one of the youngsters suddenly disappeared from the line after falling through a sewer grate.
Hampson lifted the grate and saw there were four of the mini quail in distress. He saved three. One drowned.
“I don’t know how many have fallen through over the years,” said Hampson. “There should be something done — it doesn’t seem right.”
To that end, Hampson said he called the city, the SPCA and the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. He said he believes some inexpensive steel meshes of some sort could stop this from happening again.
“They are beautiful little birds,” he said. “It would be kind of nice to save them — they are so cute.”
The city doesn’t believe there’s much it can do about the situation.
“Good on him (Hampson) for taking the grate out and rescuing the little guys,” said City of Parksville spokesperson Debbie Tardiff.
The city has approximately 1,400 catch basins like the one that felled the tiny quail on Wheeler Avenue.
“Realistically, it is not manageable to run around and put screens on them,” said Tardiff.
Robin Campbell of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre also didn’t believe there’s much his organization could do about the issue.
“I’m sympathetic to the whole situation,” said Campbell. “It’s an ongoing problem, not necessarily quail but baby ducks.”