FOUR tiny ducklings left abandoned in freezing conditions have been hailed as a “miracle”
The baby birds are making a surprise recovery after being found shivering outside a health centre in Perth on Tuesday.
Stunned Scottish SPCA inspectors say they have never heard of ducks being born in late October – up to eight months after they usually hatch.
Experts say the baby Mallards would have died if they had not been saved from Scotland’s recent cold snap.
They are now being kept warm in an incubator at the Society’s wildlife rescue centre.
Manager Colin Seddon said the three-day-old ducks were very vulnerable when found.
He said: “They probably wouldn’t have survived had they been left out in the wild. Given the recent weather it’s a miracle they survived at all.
“The mother left about nine ducklings altogether but unfortunately we couldn’t save all of them. The ones we did manage to save are really doing well.
Inspectors believe the mother duck was unable to take them to water so flew off, leaving them alone at the un-named health centre.
But concerned staff spotted the tiny chicks and quickly alerted the Scottish SPCA.
The four remaining fluffy fowl will be among 700 birds released from the centre next spring.
The charity hope this will allow them to develop normally despite being born at the wrong time of year.
Mr Seddon added: “It’s very unusual for them to be born this late in the year – maybe they have been born early. I have seen them born in January but I’ve never heard of anything like this before.
“We have just come into a cold snap so they were very vulnerable indeed. You get some animals that don’t make it despite your best efforts but I’m confident we can help these little ones pull through.”
The ducklings will be released in Fife where they will receive supported feeding.