Friday, 16 May 2008

Malthus bites

A short duck-update before the weekend. With the arrival of another mating pair, plus a further male duck (there were two in the quad this morning), it's become more difficult for the original two mothers and their chicks to secure access to the quad's watering holes. In turn, this has made it more difficult for us to count chick numbers. We've just seen one mother with seven chicks, but we're uncertain if this is mother 1 (with seven chicks) or mother 2 (with eleven, then nine, chicks). Furthermore, we've just watched this same mother attack one of the other mother's chicks. It may have been more of a warning shot, but it's difficult not to read more into it. In passing, the mother ducks themselves have also been attacked by the visiting males, though the males have shown less interest in the chicks. Anyway, we'll see what the weekend brings.

P.S. Update: one mother has six chicks, the other seven. Although, being bird-spotting amateurs, we're unable to work out which mother is which, so can't tell if mother 1 has lost one chick, or mother 2 has lost three.

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