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Ledge ducks’ story helps refuge birds

Wed., June 10, 2009

Bank collects donations to benefit Turnbull wildlife

A mama duck’s ill-advised roost on a Spokane window ledge has helped her fellow fowl at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge land $5,000.

Sterling Savings Bank concluded a monthlong Bucks for Ducks fundraiser to celebrate the safe passage of the mallard hen and her 12-duckling brood, who were hatched on the edifice of the bank’s downtown office.

Loan officer Joel Armstrong garnered headlines last month when he caught the young ducks as they jumped from the ledge and escorted them to the Spokane River.

Spokane- and Coeur d’Alene-area Sterling branches offered rubber ducks in exchange for $1 donations to the refuge, a 16,000-acre tract outside Cheney that is important habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl.

Armstrong’s feathered wards likely would feel right at home at Turnbull: The mallard is one of more than 20 species of duck that use the refuge and “one of our big nesters here,” said Nancy Curry, refuge manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Possible uses for the money include installing mallard-nesting boxes or searching for waterfowl nests, which helps officials predict bird population growth at the refuge, Curry said.

Bucks for Ducks raised $2,203, according to the bank.

Sterling will donate the remainder of the money.

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