Not all heroes wear capes – but some do help rescue 10 stricken ducklings from a busy road’s drainage system.
That’s what Costin Iliescu and his son had to do in order to release the trapped hatchlings who had fallen through the drain cover and become stuck on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road on Wednesday.
Mr Iliescu sen, 62, was driving along the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road with his son Vlad Iliescu, 28, when they spotted a wild duck quacking loudly and distressed.
After stopping the car to see what was going on, Mr Iliescu was surprised when he heard the cries of ducklings in a drain near Craibstone Drive.
He said: “I was in the area when I saw a mother duck that was very, very agitated and she was walking around the same spot.
“She would walk up to the bus stop and then to the street. I tried to protect her from oncoming drivers.
“I was worried about her being hit, or in an accident.
“I heard the ducklings quacking, but I couldn’t see them at first.
“They fell in the drain, maybe because they were trying to cross the road together behind the mother.”
Mr Iliescu sen, originally from Romania, asked his son to call the Scottish SPCA who showed up not long after to help safely remove the ducklings.
‘She showed me what mother’s love means’
Mr Iliescu sen said he was worried he wouldn’t be able to help the duckling since he couldn’t remove the metal grate from the drain.
He quickly got to work with the animal rescue officer by removing the ducklings and keeping them safe inside a special cage.
Mr Iliescu sen added: “I helped her and we counted eight of them.
“We thought that was it, but then we heard more quacking and we couldn’t see where it was coming from inside.
“Then there were nine ducklings and then 10.
“I’m so happy because otherwise they would have been condemned to die in there instead.
“That’s beauty of this story is, Scotland is rich with 10 more ducklings.”
Mr Iliescu sen said he was keen to help the mother duck and wanted to make sure she stayed safe while the ducklings were being retrieved.
Impressed by her “maternal instinct” and determination to get her young back was “fantastic”, he added: “She showed me what a mother’s love means.”
After being hailed as a “hero” by Mr Iliescu jun, he said: “I have done nothing. I think what I did was normal, it’s what people should do. To love wildlife.”
Mr Iliescu jun, a fourth-year dental student at Aberdeen University, asked people to consider supporting the SSPCA by donating.
The ducklings were returned to the nearby park and followed their mother to a pond.