Saturday, 23 January 2016


The annual Trustees meeting of the River Nairn Swans and Waterfowl Trust took place last week.

All trustees were present except our Avian adviser who lives in Swindon and manages her own sanctuary.
Items discussed were how to eliminate the annual shortfall in funds - by recruiting more members, and the production of Trust related merchandise, like a 12 page Swan Calendar and perhaps other items for next Christmas. These items can be pre ordered by members in time for Christmas gift giving.  Trust membership has now reached 160 which includes family members. We also discussed the possibility of applying for Nurturing Nairnshire funds which will be looked into. One other major item for discussion was how we can offset the heavy increased predation by Crows on the new seasons cygnets and ducklings. The Trust has asked for and been given advice from SNH and others in this regard. 

One tactic which proved valuable last year was putting a dead Crow on the Swans island as a warning and deterrent to other crows to keep away during hatching time. 

The trust would like to repeat this and ask anyone who can supply a few dead Crows, perhaps road kills that I could freeze and then use during the cygnet hatching time to get in touch. Hoodie Crows are the biggest killers on the river, so having two or three placed around the Swans island might be a great help. The Trust would be entitled to use humane trapping methods, but this location might be upsetting to some people. 
Predation and dog disturbance of nesting ducks on the riverside means that more ducks are choosing to nest throughout the town away from the riverside. This means safer hatching , but often a long dangerous trek to a watercourse. 

Crossing busy roads and often Ducklings unable to escape from enclosed gardens or unusual places is a survival problem. With this in mind, the Trust will now have a mobile bird rescue number for members of the public to call or text. This will allow us to assist any mother duck with a trapped brood to get to safety.

We had occasion to do this successfully several times last year.  Maybe one day when we get a road bypass the ducks will stand less chance of being run over !  The library photo display organised by our secretary Morag Paterson, was lauded by many and gratefully acknowledged.

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