Saturday, 13 April 2013

First Brood Rescued !

It might be the 13th of April, but this was a very lucky day for Nairns first duckling brood. I received a call from Moray Coast Vets this afternoon from one of my regular blog viewers, Helen Wright.

 Helen had seen the mother duck crossing the links with 15 ducklings in tow, being diverted by some children the duck entered the garden of Ryden House when Helen gave me the call.

 When I got there several people had gathered and Helen agreed to help with getting the family into the box. Fortunately the duck knew me, and readily started eating some grain I offered, surrounded by her brood. 

Knowing the key to success was catching the mother first, I managed without any problems, after a bit of chasing around the shrubbery we managed to catch all 15 ducklings and get them into the box with Mum. I have now placed them in the safety of the Aviary, rather than take them to the river where they would certainly perish.

 The weather is not only cold, but more importantly there is no insect life available for the ducklings to eat, in addition the crows and gulls would have them within 24 hours for the same reason, little food available. 

When they are big enough to survive, I will put them into the river. For her compassion, doing the right thing and showing the Wright stuff - pun intended. The River Nairn Swans & Waterfowl trust gives Helen Wright this years membership to the Trust FREE of Charge, Welcome Helen !  Enjoy the pics and short video.


Anonymous said...

STOP playing God

jayteescot1 said...

I will, when you stop being the DEVIL.

Anonymous said...

It is a case of overpopulation in the Nairn Duck Pond Joe and the mallards are changing their behaviour accordingly.

"Town ponds with an abundant and reliable food supply often attract more mallards than are able to nest close by. In these situations, many female mallards nest well away from the pond to avoid competition and harassment from others."
From RSPB site.

Time to leave nature alone for a while?

jayteescot1 said...

Nairn River is not a pond, the ducks that are on the tidal reaches are from the whole length of the river. They spend the winter flocking for safety's sake on the tidal reaches, where food is easier to get at without the water freezing. Loss of habitat and cover such as cutting down bushes, scrub, and removing fallen branches all deprive the ducks of nesting places. Our mallards travel miles up river to nest, but some find nesting sites in gardens that have shrubs and bushes and cover where they won't be attacked by dogs, mink etc.
Believe it or not, the biggest problem is not female competition but lack of suitable sites that are free from continual prowling and hunting dogs. Only yesterday someone mentioned the Mosset burn in forres as having 3 times as many ducks as us yet we have a much bigger river.

Anonymous said...

What a shame we no longer have 'wild' life in our river, and instead we've akin to a zoo with wild birds being tamed and domesticated. This to their peril as rather than take flight at the sight of humans (especially those with dogs) they come nearer to see what food they might offer
Rescue those birds that are truly in distress (no-one would deny you do a fine job Joe) but respect our wildlife and stop feeding them twice daily. You're distorting nature and as the first poster said playing God.

jayteescot1 said...

There is more wildlife on the river than there has ever been. All the elderly Nairnite's that I know will be the first to tell you that.
I feed them twice day because not all of them are around at the same time. The one's that you see currently on the path with their mates on guard, are birds that are nesting or about to nest and are feasting for the long egg laying and starvation for 5 weeks that they will have to endure. I am not playing God, but the years of experience studying the ducks and their habits have taught me a lot.
Make no mistake these ducks are not tame, although they tolerate me getting fairly close due to years of contact with them. On the subject of nesting, ducks will nest up to 250 metres away from the riverside, so it's easy to work out that distance either side of the river - you are liable to get a duck nesting, and it may well be a garden near you !

jayteescot1 said...

A final word on this rescue, and giving these ducklings a chance. This has been the coldest prolonged spell of spring weather I can ever remember. The daffys are just about coming out and the snowdrops and crocuses are in full bloom and it's mid April. Last year the first 6 broods of ducklings were completely wiped out mainly by crows. This year it is likely to be the same. There are no insects available for the ducks let alone the ducklings.
Putting them in the river at this time as food for the crows without a chance of survival, is frankly not the right thing to do. I'm afraid your pet gulls will also have to settle for fish justlike the other gulls.

Greenleaf said...

Well said Joe--get of the mans back---he cant possibly keep everybody happy--get a life and stop gurning. Keep it up Joe.

Wheres ma bush said...

Good on you Joe,
Can't wait to see more wee fellas on the riverbank