Duck returns every year to NJ school to raise ducklings
HILLSBOROUGH — The students at Woods Road Elementary School might be known as the Wildcats, but for the past decade a mother duck has stolen the hearts of students and staff alike.
The duck, affectionately known as Mrs. Woods, was first seen at the school almost 10 years ago hiding under a step at the school.
Since then she has returned to the school every spring to lay her eggs and have her babies. Even though the mom can fly in and out of the courtyard where she has made her home for the past eight years, the babies are not quite as ready to fly.
That's why ever year for the past few years Mrs. Woods has led her babies on a parade through the school on their way to freedom, according to school principal Jodi Howe.
"She comes and goes at night," Howe said. "Our custodian Mr. Andy kind of took a liking to it and seemed to kind of know when the eggs were getting ready to hatch."
Not only has it been something fun at the school, Howe said it has also been educational. Students write essays about ducks and use it for math problems and other activities. Howe said the school's computer resource teacher, Margie Rothblatt, has also made Mrs. Woods a social media sensation, posting updates on the school's Twitter feed and broadcasting the egg hatchings live on YouTube.
"When I say that the ducks walk down the hall everyone's like yeah, right," Howe said. "All we have to do is open the door and she knows where to go. She knows to turn right, she knows to turn left. One year the school buses were out front and we were taking bets is she going to get on the bus."
At this point there are no plans to replace Striker the school's wildcat mascot, but Howe said Mrs. Woods is definitely claiming a place as the unofficial mascot of the school, making it for a very special experience all around.
"The kids love it. It's not your typical thing that happens everyday," Howe said. "The fact that she comes back every year is great."