Thursday, 11 June 2015

Remedial Action

Since the death of Feisty and her brood, I have taken some remedial action to try and curtail the mating activities of the Drakes. For the past 5 days I have not been feeding them, in the hope that they will spend more time finding food and less time chasing the females! Currently I am only supplementing the Swans feeding and also the nesting female ducks that fly in for a quick meal. The ratio of drakes to ducks has been steadily getting out of kilter over the past few years.

 There are a number of reasons for this, the most basic is that female ducks are much more at risk because they have to produce the next generation by nesting on the ground and spending 6 weeks laying around a dozen eggs then incubating them. 

During this time they lose half their bodyweight and some are killed by Dogs, Mink, Otters and other predators. The Drakes run no such risk and only stay with their mate until incubation starts, then they leave and join the other drakes on the river, building up a community of males. 

At the last count in the spring we had around 65 Drakes and 45 females, it would have been better the other way round ! 

Some Drakes retain their heightened readiness to mate, although most lose interest during the hot summer months. Naturally broods are made up of both sexes but we seem to be getting more males than females over the past few years ! Hopefully we will get more hatches over the next couple of months, but I fear the Crows will wipe out most if not all of them. As I have stated before, I have no problem with predation - as long as it doesn't end with the Crows !! Even the RSPB acknowledge that Crows can decimate another species.

Meanwhile as the top predator, I have 21 ducklings under care that will now have to be kept until almost fledged, the only way of outsmarting the Crows it seems !

No comments: