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A brown mallard that became Washington's newest tourist attraction began hatching her ducklings Saturday under a tree at the entrance to the Treasury Department, a block from the White House.

The Secret Service uniformed division, which normally guards the president and other dignitaries, has been protecting the duck and her nest since she laid her eggs early last month, keeping the mother safe from throngs of tourists who stopped to snap pictures.

They installed metal guardrails around the nest and extended the protected area as the watching crowds grew in size.

Treasury employees gave the duck various nicknames, ranging from "Quacks Reform" to "T-Bill" and "Duck Cheney."

Treasury officials said that after the duck and ducklings get a good night's rest, they all would be transported to a Washington area park today and released.

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