This spring Steve Stuttard reunited with an unusual friend: Mrs. Mallard, a duck that nested in a fuchsia planter on his ninth-story apartment balcony in Manchester, UK, last year. Upon her return this year, she laid 11 eggs in a planter filled with grass. “I know ducks have strange routines when it comes to nesting, and mallards, if they have a successful site, they will return to it,” said Stuttard, a retired Royal Navy survival specialist and an avid bird lover since childhood. These skills came in handy last year, when he devised a system to transport Mrs. Mallard’s ducklings down to the water quickly and safely 20-30 meters from the base of his building once they hatched. There was no elevator ride for these chicks; Stuttard’s chick delivery system involved ropes, a bucket and a man on the ground floor. With more chicks than last year, bad weather, and an audience watching from around the world, this year’s operation was even more painstaking. It was successful, though, and all 11 chicks made it into the water with Mrs. Mallard.

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