Roderick Yee, a 16-year Federal Way resident, has a special place in his heart for the geese, and the ducks too, around the Cove Apartments on First Avenue Southwest.
Yee said he first started watching over baby ducklings in April 2003 but didn’t bring the geese into his care in 2015.
“It seemed like the geese parents protected their babies very well,” he said.
When Yee first moved to the Cove Apartments, he said management told him the baby ducklings in the area didn’t have a high chance of survival because during the day the crows would eat them, and at night they were in danger of raccoons.
Yee didn’t like the sound of that, so he stepped in.
“I wanted baby ducks to survive, so I chased away the crows during the day and chased away the raccoons during the night,” he said. “I managed to get about five hours of sleep.”
Yee was able to save a lot of ducklings doing this, but said after he turned 70 he didn’t have the energy to stay up all night. So instead, he now cares for the birds from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
To prevent the birds from getting hit crossing the street, Yee sits in a folding chair near the road and herds the geese and ducks down the street where there is no divider between the lanes.
“It’s gotten to where they know me, and when they see me coming they pull back [from the road] because they know what I want them to do,” he said.
Yee said some motorists have thanked him for helping the ducks and geese get across the road.
“One man gave me a Subway gift card with $100 on it,” he said. “It makes me feel great that people really appreciate what I’m doing.”
He keeps a very close eye on the birds, even keeping track of which family has how many babies.
Yee said once he noticed a duckling missing and found it across the street at the Cove East Apartments badly injured.
With help from another resident, they drove it to the Wildlife Rescue Center in Kent.
Yee said he had never seen a mallard duck or a Canada goose before moving to the Cove Apartments. He watches over the birds between April and August.