Nestled among stacks of landscaping supplies, just past the busy loading dock of , is the place one mother duck chose to make a home for her ducklings.
In the busy stretch of concrete between the downtown business and the Chicago River, the mother duck made a nest atop a pile of bags filled with marble landscaping supplies. She laid seven eggs, and at least three of them hatched, employees say.
It's not the first time a duck has chosen to lay her eggs behind the store, according to manager Andy Stockinger. He said the store's employees have seen babies grow up by the loading zone every spring for the past several years.
"They do say ducks come back," Stockinger said, peering out the back door of Do it Best Hardware to look for the mother and her babies, who are now old enough to wander out on their own.
"The first week she was there, she'd get upset when people got near her," he said. But gradually, the mother duck grew accustomed to workers unloading pallets and delivery trucks pulling up.
While deliveries didn't stop, Do it Best employees did make some accomodations for the nest, according to Stockinger.
"We put that bale of peat moss up to make it a little more private," he said, gesturing to a bag carefully curved around the duck's nest.
Employees even named the mother duck Cory, after one of the store workers, according to Triblocal, which first reported the story.
Store manager Stan Livermore told Triblocal that Cory laid her eggs in March, and on Saturday, they hatched. Already, the mother and her babies are taking trips to the river, he said.
"She goes out and goes down to the river with them, and she comes back,” Livermore told Triblocal.
Do it Best employee Ken Hancock graciously shared some of his photos of the mother duck and her babies with Patch. From the quality of the images, it looks like Hancock was able to get very close.
Not so, says Stockinger.
"That was done with a telephoto zoom lens from a mile away," he explains.
To see more photos, visit the Do it Best facebook page.