The duckling season has started. Most of the waterbird babies are hatching slightly earlier this year. Usually I would get one or two duck and duckling rescues in April but at the time of writing this I have done seven and there’s been lots of orphaned ducklings brought to me as well. They’re never easy and it’s hardly worth having a plan as it just doesn’t seem to work out. Next is a summary of a typical but tricky rescue – copied from my post on Facebook.
Today brought my first duckling rescue of 2019. Duck and duckling rescues can be notoriously difficult and I had been to this rescue location last year. The concierge, who looks after these rather nice flats in Belgravia, had kept my number from last year. Mum was running round the car park with two newly hatched ducklings. Fortunately, they were quite easy to catch but that wasn’t the end. The staff there said there were other ducklings on one of the balconies. They also thought they might be on the roof! So we started on the roof and worked our way down eight floors, searching every window box on each landing. Success came at the sixth floor. We found the window box where mum had made her nest. The window boxes were crammed with plants and ivy and it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. I found five ducklings and then there was silence so I hoped I had them all. I continued searching the window box very thoroughly and destroying plants in the process but nothing. I set off to my next rescue with the duck family on board. I was in Richmond when the concierge rang to say he had found another duckling in the window box. I phoned a friend who luckily was able to get the train (and a taxi) up to Sloane Square to collect it. She brought it to me in style in a taxi and after reuniting him with his mum and siblings we got another call to say there was another duckling running round the carpark. I had to collect my granddaughter from school so lovely Paula made a return trip to get the ninth duckling. It was so important to keep these single ducklings warm and she did brilliantly and was very inventive. I think she must have watched Blue Peter as a child!
I now have all of the ducklings and I will keep them a few days to feed up mum and help the little ones gain strength. An eventful but hugely satisfying rescue. Paula Redmond thank you for sharing photos.
It’s important to try and catch the mother and when I do it’s usually a straight release, into the nearest, safe pond. Sometimes, if the ducklings are only a day old I keep the entire family in my shed and run, for another five days. It creates a massive cleaning programme but I think it makes a big difference. Mum has built up a stronger bond with her babies and they have grown stronger while in care – with plenty of good, nutritious food.
When I am looking after a mum and ducklings it’s quite handy if I pick up a lone duckling, as if they are a similar size I can sneak them in with the family, without mum being aware she has an extra one or two!
Besides, duckling rescues the rest has been a mixture. One of the last of the 2018 cygnets got chased off – this was on the day that the new cygnets hatched. I’ve also had an assortment of injured gulls, coots and ducks and a lovely baby heron that fell out of his nest.
It’s got off to a busy start and I expect it to continue in the same way in May.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you found it of interest.