Delighted office workers watched with joy as ten adorable ducklings were hatched and then took a leap of faith - from a hanging flower basket.
Staff at van conversion company Fleetshields, in Colchester, Essex, were surprised to return to work after the Easter weekend to find one of the hanging baskets empty, with flower petals scattered on the ground.
They couldn't believe their eyes when they peered into the basket - to see a few tiny eggs nestled inside.
Over the next couple of days, they watched as a mallard duck kept returning to the basket, which was five feet off the ground, to continue to lay more eggs. And after she had laid ten eggs, the mother duck settled herself inside the basket to incubate them for 25 days.
To the delight of Fleetshields staff, all ten ducklings hatched last Monday (May 10). Two days later, staff watched in amazement as the ducklings decided it was time to leave the nest - and leapt the long five feet to the ground below.
The Fleetshields team had set up a 'crash mat' on the ground for the newly-hatched chicks, stuffed with hay, so they could have a soft landing.
Operations director David Waterman, 49, said: "It was fantastic to watch. It was about 30 minutes of absolute joy as they all leapt from the nest. "We'd set up wildlife cameras outside to keep an eye on the mother duck as she incubated her eggs - so we all feel a bit like we've become wildlife experts over the past few weeks.
"It's been a magical five weeks, getting to see the process from the beginning." David added that when they first peered into the basket and saw the eggs, they did not realise what they were looking at.
He said: "They were really small, and they looked a bit like pebbles at first. "When we realised they were eggs, we did a bit of Googling and thought they might have been laid by a mallard duck.
"Then over the next few days, we saw her keep coming back to the nest, and lay a couple more eggs each time. "When it eventually came to incubating them, it turned out she had picked quite a clever spot to nest.
"The basket was quite deep, so she managed to tuck herself right down inside, out of sight of any predators. "She was completely unfazed by people coming in and out of the building." The ten ducklings hatched last Monday (May 10) - and were ready to leave the nest just two days later.
David said: "It was really nice to see. "All ten of them jumped with no issue, and she waited patiently, and then rounded them all up and lead them across the road to a nearby pond.
"It was quite exciting - some of our staff followed behind to make sure they didn't run into any trouble on the road, but it's a very quiet industrial estate we work on, so they were fine.
"Our office backs onto a golf course, so the ducks only had to go about 200 yards before they reached the pond. The mother duck knew exactly where she was going."
David added that a couple of his team had been down to the pond since to check on the ducklings - and that the family are all getting on fine.