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Why did the chicken cross the road? We don’t know, we don’t speak Chicken. But we do know why the ducks in Kyoto cross the road. To get to the Kamo River!

Don’t be mistaken, we don’t speak Duck either, but that’s what the ducks have been doing for the past decade or so, and this year they’ve completed the procession again with a record number of baby ducks in tow!

The Kamo River is the most renowned river in Kyoto Prefecture, loved by locals and tourists alike for its scenic views, especially in spring when the cherry blossom trees along the bank bloom into a delightful flurry of pink and white blossoms.

The river is also home to wild ducks, which used to breed and raise their young along the river where they reside. However, it is said that about a decade ago, the ducks of the Kamo River found their way to a pond located within the compounds of Youbouji, a temple situated about 700 meters away from the river, and somehow realized that the pond was a much safer and conducive environment to hatch and nurture their babies.

Since then, the ducks have returned to the temple annually to propagate, and when the baby ducks are approximately six weeks old, the mother then leads her ducklings back to the river on foot. This year, a total of 14 baby ducks were hatched on April 15, the biggest batch seen since they started making themselves comfortable in Youbouji’s pond.

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On the morning of May 31, the mother duck made her move to start the journey way back home, and the little ones got out of the pond right after her. They waddled their way out of the temple’s compounds, wandered about the streets of Kyoto and headed for the Kamo River, curiously venturing into a few residential lots along the way. Check out these cute little waddling fellows!

▼ Wandering around the compounds of Youbouji, searching for the exit maybe?

▼ And they’re on the road! But it seems like they’re having second thoughts about moving…

The little homebound parade was guarded by police officers and caring onlookers, ensuring that the ducks made their way home without putting themselves or any human motorists in danger.

▼ A police officer offers them directions towards the Kamo River, and they seem to understand. Perhaps he speaks Duck.

▼ Mommy Duck seems to have found her pace. Aww, aren’t they cute tottering along the streets in a flock!

After an hour-long hike, the feathered family made it to the Kamo River, and they didn’t hesitate to wade right into the water, gracefully paddling away into the comforts of their natural habitat.

▼ “Mom! You’re going too fast!”

▼ There seem to be more human “bodyguards” than ducks.

▼ They made it! Mother Duck and all her 14 babies arrive at the Kamo River safe and sound.

The next time someone asks you why did the chicken cross the road, return the favor with a duck version and tell them about the Kamo River ducks!

Source/Images: YouTube (1, 2) via Game Over
Reference: Asahi Shimbun