An animal lover, Shirley Terry Lopez was driving home after taking her two rescue dogs to the vet when she spied other creatures in need. 

“When I took the exit, I looked down the feeder and saw a mother duck and 14 babies in one of those potholes on the side of the road,” the owner of Beyond Beaute said. “I’m always rescuing turtles, but I had no idea how to herd ducks.”

She stopped at a nearby business to ask for help, and an employee suggested she call College of the Mainland police officer Sylvia Chapa, who runs the “College Duck Whisperer” Facebook page and previously helped herd ducks across the street. Chapa stressed that the important thing was to make sure the babies were not separated from their mother. Officer Felipe Zepeda came over to help corral the ducklings.

“They said, ‘Whatever you do, you’ve got to get the mother,’” Terry-Lopez said. “I took a leap of faith and prayed she wouldn’t bite me and got her. She was good.”

She and Zedepa collected all 14 babies as well and returned them to the pond on campus.

“Now they’re all swimming together,” said Chapa.

Chapa began her Facebook page after learning about a person who, in an attempt to rescue ducks, separated the babies from their mother. Without her care, all the babies died. Chapa began the page to educate individuals about proper rescue of ducks who sometimes wander over busy streets.

“It’s a myth that if you pick up a baby duck, the mother won’t accept it. The important thing is never to separate the mother from the babies,” said Chapa.

The page is also spawning other bird-related questions. Chapa heard recently from a couple who discovered two geese abandoned with dog collars around their throats.

“They sounded raspy, the collars were so tight,” said Chapa.

The couple called to ask if it was all right to catch them, and Chapa assured them that it was safe. The couple removed the collars and the geese are recovering.

“I’m a duck whisperer,” said Chapa.

Now she might have to change the title to “duck and geese whisperer.”