Bill Cobun was passing a parking lot on the Columbus campus of Columbus State Community College in Ohio Tuesday morning when he noticed a duck in the parking lot.
The duck was standing near the grate of a storm drain, he said, and the creature seemed agitated.
"I noticed that the duck seemed to be in distress and I thought that possibly it might be sick and as I came over I heard the cheeping from inside the grate," Cobun said in a video shot by the college.
The duck was upset because seven of its chicks had fallen down the grate and they couldn't get out.
Cobun called for help, and David Wayne, the college's media relations coordinator, heard the call on his scanner at around mid-morning Tuesday. He told ABCNews.com Wednesday that he and videographer Mark Van Horn went to the scene to film the rescue.
Safety officers and Lt. Dan Werner of the Columbus State Police Department removed the grate and gingerly lifted each of the tiny chicks out of the hole. The baby ducks rushed to their mother's side.
Werner, who described himself as an animal lover, said he wanted to help the ducklings in any way he could.
"What amazes me is nature, how mama wouldn't leave. She was staying right here. She kept looking in the hole to make sure they were OK," he said.
"It was nice to feel something that small in your hand and then see them run to their mom. It just kind of reinforces your belief in nature and there's some good in the world."
Once all the ducklings were with their mother, they went about their business, Wayne said.
"The ducklings were very happy," he said.