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Alan de Enfield

Ducks 'get in the way of cyclists' 4500 eggs destroyed.

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8 minutes ago, Athy said:

But this implies that ducks, when in the wild, are unable to feed themselves, which I do not believe is the case. I, in common with millions of other people, enjoy feeding ducks, but I have never thought that it was necessary, except perhaps in periods of snowy and icy weather when they cannot gain access to their natural diet.

No it doesn't.   Food supplies are a normal limiting factor in any wild population.

 

So say the pond has natural food to support a population of 200 ducks.   What will happen is one of two things, either the population will have lowered breeding success when saturation level is reached owing to poor condition of the parents or the excess will be chased out to other habitats.  (also a combination of both).

 

Throw in masses of artificial food from the public and suddenly the pond can support 500 ducks.   They have enough food so breed well and as there is no pressure of difficult food are prepared to put up with a denser population.

 

Incidentally I enjoy feeding ducks and it is only necessary when the population outgrows the number which can be supported by the habitat.  If the can't reach natural food and humans don't provide it they move to a more suitable habit e.g. in times of hard frost the coast.

 

Beaten to the reply by Tree Monkey.

Edited by Jerra
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11 minutes ago, Jerra said:

Some thought on the duck story so far.

 

1.  It is illegal to kill, injure, harm a nest of eggs etc unless you have a licence from English nature.   This allows people to apply to control pest species.

 

2.  I am sure the public feeding causes the over population particularly at public water ways/ponds.  I have yet to find definitive evidence that white bread is harmful to birds.  Even scientists who claim it haven't given me a believable answer.  I would suggest that if it was so unhealthy the population wouldn't do so well.  There has been some suggestion it might be the cause of "angel wing" , if this is correct I would expect far more cases to be seen particularly at feeding hot spots.

 

3.  In the unnatural habitat which is the UK many species need control/culling.  Peter Scott well known wildfowler turned conservationist accepted this and even used it campaigning for bird protection laws.

 

4.  Pricking eggs which prevents the development of the egg is a normal procedure for controlling populations particularly wildfowl.  It is considerably more humane than killing the adults by whatever method.

 

If there is a vast oversupply of duck eggs (there must have been, if there is an overpopulation of adult birds) wouldn't a lot of the 4500 eggs destroyed have been predated anyway, were nature allowed to take its red-in-tooth-and-claw course? I'm not sure how many fluffy ickle ducklings get eaten, but I bet it's a substantial proportion.

 

Human action is only seeking to redress the balance in a timely manner.

 

 

31 minutes ago, Wittenham said:

I could write all my n=1 anecdotes about getting harassed on a bicycle by cars/vans/lorries

 

Pedant alert -- that would make it n>6 (at least two of each form of transport).  Nice concept though!

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12 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

If there is a vast oversupply of duck eggs (there must have been, if there is an overpopulation of adult birds) wouldn't a lot of the 4500 eggs destroyed have been predated anyway, were nature allowed to take its red-in-tooth-and-claw course? I'm not sure how many fluffy ickle ducklings get eaten, but I bet it's a substantial proportion.

 

Human action is only seeking to redress the balance in a timely manner.

 

Up to a point any eggs destroyed by natural predation will be replaced by the ducks, the point of pricking the eggs is the duck will continue to sit on the egg, even though it will never hatch and not replace it with a fresh egg

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Just now, Machpoint005 said:

 

If there is a vast oversupply of duck eggs (there must have been, if there is an overpopulation of adult birds) wouldn't a lot of the 4500 eggs destroyed have been predated anyway, were nature allowed to take its red-in-tooth-and-claw course? I'm not sure how many fluffy ickle ducklings get eaten, but I bet it's a substantial proportion.

 

Human action is only seeking to redress the balance in a timely manner.

 

 

This raises two points.

 

First the Uk is not a natural habitat, we have reduced and in fact totally eliminated some species of predators.

 

Second to reduce the population which has clearly grown beyond natural numbers despite any predation you need to remove considerably more young than predation has been doing.

 

Mallard can be long lived birds the record (proved by ringing) is 20 years 5 months 17 days.  They 11 to 14 eggs per clutch and about half survive the first year.  So a pair of mallard breeding for the first time in 2020 will have say 5 surviving young in 2021 so by the end of 2021 the population will be say 21.   Try the maths beyond that and see how rapidly a population can increase, bearing in mind a mallard is breeding at one year old.

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55 minutes ago, pete.i said:

It's highly dangerous and illegal. But why would you let those facts get in the way of you making a controversial statement.

I know both of those things - if the wink didn't make it clear I was ust pulling his leg about the "dont get me started..." bit....

 

I was just pulling his leg about the "don't get me started..." bit!  :)

 

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4 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

I know both of those things - if the wink didn't make it clear I was ust pulling his leg about the "dont get me started..." bit....

 

I was just pulling his leg about the "don't get me started..." bit!  :)

 

I wouldn't worry you ole Seadog. Some people just don't do 'humour','sarcasm' or 'irony'.

 

The thing that amazes me is that Alan posts a controversial cyclist thread every 6 weeks or so with the same results.

 

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Ducks?

OK, except I feel they are always laughing at me.

 

Cyclists?

OK, even though they exude a sense of smugness as they are saving the planet (innit?)

 

Canada geese?

< adopts manic pantomime baddie voice > Kill them all, and their children and their children's children.

 

But cyclists who ride through red lights or on the pavement?

Hanging is too good for them!

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3 minutes ago, rusty69 said:

The thing that amazes me is that Alan posts a controversial cyclist thread every 6 weeks or so with the same results.

One day the wheels will come off... ;)

 

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I think that 1500 eggs a year is a drop in the ocean. Just thinking about numbers of birds spotted whilst boating I would say the Mallard population seems to be static. Given the size of their clutches the attrition rate must be very high so neutralising 1500 eggs isn't going to have much impact on the population as a whole.

It might have a significant impact on the ecology of a particular location if the birds are causing a nuisance. A friend had a mallard hen choose his garden to raise her brood. What started off as little darlings quickly transitioned to monsters that denuded his plants dug up his lawn and turned the pond into a black cesspit. This was the result of a single breeding pair. The garden did recover but only months after they had flown the nest and just in time for the mother to reappear the following spring. The battle continues. Round four has just ended. 

8 minutes ago, Victor Vectis said:

Ducks?

OK, except I feel they are always laughing at me.

 

Cyclists?

OK, even though they exude a sense of smugness as they are saving the planet (innit?)

 

Canada geese?

< adopts manic pantomime baddie voice > Kill them all, and their children and their children's children.

 

But cyclists who ride through red lights or on the pavement?

Hanging is too good for them!

I have some sympathy for Canada geese. I know they crap everywhere but they didn't ask to be imported.

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8 minutes ago, Cheshire cat said:


It might have a significant impact on the ecology of a particular location if the birds are causing a nuisance. 

That is of course the object of the exercise.   The numbers will have been calculated by people who know far more about Mallards and the local population by people with more knowledge than anybody on the forum.

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my observations on our local pond is that on average there are 2 breeding adult ducks that produce perhaps 3 broods a year each, that is about 50 ducklings.   Within a month of producing each brood there are usually no more than 2 ducklings remaining - the rest have been predated by foxes, herons, cats, et al.   .... ......   and that is without any pike in the pond.

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11 minutes ago, Jerra said:

That is of course the object of the exercise.   The numbers will have been calculated by people who know far more about Mallards and the local population by people with more knowledge than anybody on the forum.

I would have agreed with you without reservation if it were not for the story of the badger cull in SW England. Not because I love badgers, but simply because if you cull a population, the next-door population moves in to take advantage. I don't know to what extent that applies to mallard. 

 

 

Edited by Machpoint005

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Just now, Murflynn said:

my observations on our local pond is that on average there are 2 breeding adult ducks that produce perhaps 3 broods a year each, that is about 50 ducklings.   Within a month of producing each brood there are usually no more than 2 ducklings remaining - the rest have been predated by foxes, herons, cats, et al.   .... ......   and that is without any pike in the pond.

Heavy predation nationally fractionally over 50% (in the region of 51-52%) survive the first year.

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2 hours ago, Murflynn said:

if folk stopped feeding the little darlings with tonnes of unhealthy white bread then maybe they would do less poo and wouldn't harass the public for more of the same junk food.

 

it's people that need educating and controlling, not the ducks.

PS:  the white bread may not cause disease or deformity in their bodies, but it does cause deformity in their behaviour................  as others have said - only feed ducks (or any wild animals) in an emergency.

 

at our local marina, where the quay wall is accessible to tourists and gongoozlers, the human animals are in the habit of throwing white bread by the loaf-ful into the water................  as a result dozens of ducks and seagulls roost on the boats, causing misery to the boat owners.

Edited by Murflynn

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1 minute ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

I would have agreed with you without reservation if it were not for the story of the badger cull in SW England. Not because I love badgers, but simply because if you cull a population, the next-door population moves in to take advantage. I don't know to what extent that applies to mallard. 

 

 

The badger cull is a different ball game.   They aren't reducing the population without disturbance as is the case with egg pricking.   The cull creates disturbance and makes an area feel dangerous.  Survivors move out and being a nomadic animal moving setts regularly next door move in.

 

Mallard aren't the same moving territory isn't part of their nature.  Mallards in the UK are mainly sedentary with movements coming in from the continent in hard weather but like all winter migrants they return when the weather is better.

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2 hours ago, frangar said:

Having worked in London recently despite millions being spent on cycle routes they still seem to think the pavements are theirs too...and get quite upset when pedestrians don’t jump out the way...I had some full & frank exchanges of opinion...

All of them? Or just an inconsiderate few? Because I used to live and work in London for over two years until the start of this year. I did notice similar behaviour with an inconsiderate few.

 

But I also noticed other inconsiderate behaviour including:

  • drivers sitting on their phones, running red lights, speeding, aggressive driving (sitting on the arse of motorcyclists, cyclists and other cars), the inability to navigate roundabouts
  • pedestrians glued to their mobile phones stumbling left and right down the pavement unaware of their surroundings, walking out in front of traffic
  • dog owners letting their dogs run rampage off their lead, terrorising people walking around various parks and streets of London
  • etc.

Luckily these are actions by an inconsiderate few. Unluckily these are the people who stand out and who we remember, as opposed to the 1000s of cyclists, drivers, dog owners and pedestrians who behave considerately every day, because we don't notice them. And then as a result we suggest every cyclist, driver, dog owner and pedestrian behaves this way and demand a "culling".

 

?

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3 hours ago, NB Caelmiri said:

All of them? Or just an inconsiderate few? Because I used to live and work in London for over two years until the start of this year. I did notice similar behaviour with an inconsiderate few.

 

But I also noticed other inconsiderate behaviour including:

  • drivers sitting on their phones, running red lights, speeding, aggressive driving (sitting on the arse of motorcyclists, cyclists and other cars), the inability to navigate roundabouts
  • pedestrians glued to their mobile phones stumbling left and right down the pavement unaware of their surroundings, walking out in front of traffic
  • dog owners letting their dogs run rampage off their lead, terrorising people walking around various parks and streets of London
  • etc.

Luckily these are actions by an inconsiderate few. Unluckily these are the people who stand out and who we remember, as opposed to the 1000s of cyclists, drivers, dog owners and pedestrians who behave considerately every day, because we don't notice them. And then as a result we suggest every cyclist, driver, dog owner and pedestrian behaves this way and demand a "culling".

 

?

.....................    make it a selective one.

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5 hours ago, Athy said:

I should think that most people do. They're not O.K. with any traffic offences, because they are offences, whether committed by motor  cars, bicycles or (less likely around here) tuk-tuks., and are thus by definition offensive. This seems to make sense.

Yes, that makes sense, thanks.  I was referring to the action frangar implicitly takes when he [I assume a 'he'] sees the offences.  I am impressed with his sense of civic duty but how does the poor man get any rest?

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4 hours ago, Cheshire cat said:

I think that 1500 eggs a year is a drop in the ocean. Just thinking about numbers of birds spotted whilst boating I would say the Mallard population seems to be static. Given the size of their clutches the attrition rate must be very high so neutralising 1500 eggs isn't going to have much impact on the population as a whole.

It might have a significant impact on the ecology of a particular location if the birds are causing a nuisance. A friend had a mallard hen choose his garden to raise her brood. What started off as little darlings quickly transitioned to monsters that denuded his plants dug up his lawn and turned the pond into a black cesspit. This was the result of a single breeding pair. The garden did recover but only months after they had flown the nest and just in time for the mother to reappear the following spring. The battle continues. Round four has just ended. 

I have some sympathy for Canada geese. I know they crap everywhere but they didn't ask to be imported.

 

I can sympathise, we have had up to 23 ducks in our garden, initially encouraged by Mrs Hound feeding them.

 

Once she saw the effect tonhey were having on her garden she quickly stopped, so now we only have half a dozen or so. They still make a mess though.

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1 minute ago, Wittenham said:

Yes, that makes sense, thanks.  I was referring to the action frangar implicitly takes when he [I assume a 'he'] sees the offences.  I am impressed with his sense of civic duty but how does the poor man get any rest?

I am indeed a he...as I referred to myself as a stout chap I thought it was fairly obvious...and I sleep really well...it gives immeasurable satisfaction and wellbeing making cyclists respect pedestrians...hopefully if more of us stand up to them they might get the point...

 

Just for information I also detest fishermen so if you ride a bike and fish I suggest you are doomed.....

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Just now, frangar said:

I am indeed a he...as I referred to myself as a stout chap I thought it was fairly obvious...and I sleep really well...it gives immeasurable satisfaction and wellbeing making cyclists respect pedestrians...hopefully if more of us stand up to them they might get the point...

 

Just for information I also detest fishermen so if you ride a bike and fish I suggest you are doomed.....

My sleep comment was about how busy you must be selflessly enforcing traffic regulations.  I assume your actions are not limited to just cyclists.  Is it?

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3 minutes ago, frangar said:

if you ride a bike and fish I suggest you are doomed.....

I have sometimes ridden a bike, but have never ridden a fish. If I tried, I'm sure I would be doomed - the blighters are so slippery.

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2 minutes ago, Athy said:

I have sometimes ridden a bike, but have never ridden a fish. If I tried, I'm sure I would be doomed - the blighters are so slippery.

Perhaps you would be better off with a MotorPike?

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1 minute ago, rusty69 said:

Perhaps you would be better off with a MotorPike?

What a triumph of humour - matchless, in fact.

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