Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Red in tooth and claw

Nature's harsher realities have been in evidence at Summer Leys for the last week or so.
A pair of Shelduck had a brood of 12 ducklings a little over a week ago. This number has steadily dwindled as predation has occurred and there are now only 5 ducklings left.  A second brood of 7 from a different set of parents lost a duckling within 24 hrs.
Today a pair of Coots were industriously feeding their brood of six under the predatory gaze of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Within about 30 mins the gull had picked off and eaten 4 of the youngsters and very nearly managed a 5th, despite the best efforts of the adults to discourage it.
Clearly birds have large broods in order to cope with predation, it is however difficult not to feel sympathy for the parents and for the tiny, defenceless victims of the predators.

    Neil H.
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