By ROSA MERCADO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- For Al Tuber, a beautiful sunny day isn't the only thing that draws him outside this summer -- it's a group of mother and baby mallard ducks.
"I come out every day to watch them and feed them cracked corn," said the resident of Heritage Manor on Gypsy Lane.
The mallard ducks are a popular attraction for many of the nursing home's residents, as well as the children of the attached Infant and Toddler Center (formerly known as Alefbet Daycare).
Gina Vadino, who has worked at the day care for two years, said the children are irritated if they don't see the ducks. "They're part of the family," Vadino said. "The residents sit for hours and watch the ducks."
Bobbie Berkowitz, Heritage Manor's activity director, explained that the mother duck arrived March 14 and has since laid two clutches of eggs. Residents watched the ducklings grow to their now almost adult size.
"The mallard ducks have returned here every summer for the past six years," Berkowitz said. She added that it isn't certain if the same ducks are the ones returning.
The residents enjoy watching the kids interact with the ducks even more. Since the Infant and Toddler Center is connected to the Manor, they can interact with the children daily.
"This is an intergenerational center," said Virginia Albanese, who has worked at the day care for six years.
The center is a combination of the Manor, the Infant and Toddler Center, Akiva Academy, Levi Gardens Assisted Living and the Jewish Community Center.
"The residents love the kids," said Vadino. "The kids call them 'grandmas' and 'grandpas.'"
David and Rose Cohen, residents of Heritage Manor for two years, come outside often to watch the ducks and the children.
"The kids always want to grab the ducks," Mrs. Cohen said.
Bad weather doesn't prevent her from duck-watching.
"If it's cold outside, we stay in and look out the window."