What the duck? Two weeks ago, a Mama Duck and her 9 ducklings decided to call the fountain outside of the News Corp building home. Since then, everyone from hardasses Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman and Greg Gelfan to the sweet kiddies at the Fox Day Care Center have fallen in love with the fowl who waddle all over the lot. They even enter Building 88 where all the moguls have their offices. The parent ducks have names. The hen is Maude and the mallard is Harold. (A security guard named them — not realizing that Harold And Maude was a Paramount pic. The babies don’t have names yet because no one can tell them apart.) It’s believed the pair came from the golf course across the street. They lived at the Fox lot a few months in 2008 before returning this March. Since then, everyone at the studio is working hard to protect them and their ducklings. Groundskeepers have stopped putting chemicals in the fountain to make it safe for the ducks. Fox employees regularly stop to watch the ducklings during the day and feed them when they wander over to the News Café in the afternoon. Staffers have escorted them across Avenue of the Palms during end-of-day traffic. The Fox Day Care Center comes out daily to watch over them. The entrances to the lot now have signs warning drivers to look out for “duck crossings”. A fake owl was placed at the fountain to scare away crows. But even with all that attention, two crows killed three of the ducklings recently. The ducks are protected by law, so Fox cannot move them from the lot to a more secure area. Now Fox is building a special pen for the fowl and asking staff volunteers to guard the ducks in 2-hour shifts when security isn’t working on the weekends. I know what you’re thinking: this will end up a really cute movie about a big bad media corporation that wouldn’t stop traffic for picketing writers yet becomes humanized by punk waddlers.
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