Two St Andrews University students turned animal rescuers when a duck got its beak stuck in a Schweppes can.
Katy Lee and her flatmate Erin Rawles were returning from grocery shopping when they spotted local man John Fettes and his daughter Kayden struggling to catch the distressed duck with a towel and a fishing net.
A number of other students and residents also tried to lend a hand, wading into the water and chasing the bird from one side of Fife Park to the other before it took flight and disappeared.
The crowd scattered but Katy suspected the duck wouldn’t have gone far and decided to keep looking, not realising the rescue attempt had been going on for several days since DRA residence managers at the nearby David Russell Apartments (DRA) raised the alarm.
Lindsay Elliot, house service assistant, had been phoning the Scottish SPCA daily, and rescue officers had made several failed attempts to catch the duck.
Katy finally struck lucky when she found it hiding under a bush by the Riggs building.
The third year art history and social anthropology student, said: “I could get within arms-reach of him, but he was very uneasy and waddled away so I just followed him around for a good 10 minutes at a respectful distance, sometimes pretending I wasn’t interested in him, just so he could get used to my presence and wouldn’t think I was trying to eat him.
“At this point I texted Erin requesting peas which might help me lure him out.
“Eventually I managed to corner him against one of the buildings and spent a fair bit of time just talking to him and ‘speaking duck’, something I used to do with ducklings who lived by my house.”
She got within a couple of feet of the bird and managed to grab him and wrap him in her flannel shirt before Erin arrived with the peas.
When they realised they wouldn’t be able to get the can off without hurting him, they called Provost Vets in the town, where the team were happy to help.
As they were walking back to the pond, Katy and Erin, a third year international relations and geography student, ran into John Fettes and his daughter, who had been leading the rescue effort and together they released the relieved bird.
John said he was grateful to the girls for their help. “We’d heard the duck had been sighted down at the DRA so we gathered a few people from Facebook to get him.
“Luckily we bumped into Katy and Erin.”