Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Mallard's strange nest site

Mallard's nest

While I was out walking with my two dogs in a large Hampshire woodland today, they flushed a duck Mallard (females are known as "Ducks" and males as "Drakes") out of some old tussocky grass. She flew weakily and soon "crash landed" a short distance away - a common technique used to try and attract potential predators to follow her and in doing so, take them away from her nest. Having called the dogs to heel, I checked out the position that she had taken off from. Sure enough, their was her nest of eggs, well concealed amongst the old dead grass that would help to camouflage her so well. But what was she nesting here for? The nearest water - even a small pond - must be all of two miles away and she will need to get her ducklings to water if she has any chance of raising them. Mallard will often nest quite some distance from water (including quite high up in trees or on roof tops!) and then trek their newly hatched ducklings to the nearest water. But two miles - I think not.

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