Neighbors at Pine Lake Garden Villas in Carrollwood saw eight of 11 ducklings, swimming with their mother Sunday morning, fall through slats in a grate on the drain, the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported Monday.
Authorities were called after witness Belen Artidello was unable to lift the grate on her own.
The deputy, firefighters and works employee Donoban Brown went to the scene. Brown used a big mechanical arm to pull out the grate and its surrounding concrete but the rescuers suffered a setback when the ducklings retreated into a small drain pipe.
The rescuers lured the little ducks out with bread but they soon fled back into the pipe.
The ducklings were eventually coaxed out of the pipe and a firefighter blocked its opening by dropping his jacket into the drain.
Capt. Sean Duncan was then lowered into the drain and collected the ducklings in a cat carrier. The babies were reunited with their mother.