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What's this? (1 Viewer)

Jon Turner

Well-known member
A number of these have recently been erected around a Marsh adjacent to a bird reserve I look after - anyone any idea what they are designed for - about 4 feet off the ground (or water level) and seemingly loosely packed with hay. I think the cylinders are about a metre long.
 

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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
I'd guess for ducks to nest in where they'll be safe from ground predators and flooding?

My worry is the landowner is wanting to boost duck numbers for shooting.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
I'd guess for ducks to nest in where they'll be safe from ground predators and flooding?

My worry is the landowner is wanting to boost duck numbers for shooting.

Thanks for the quick reply.

The 'landowner' is a farmer who uses the fields surrounding the marsh for cattle in the summer and sheep in the autumn. His other income is indeed from the shooting rights to the local shoot. I have noticed over recent years that the number of shots fired when they are there has declined markedly. This may be partly because there is a largish pond nearby (over the old railway line footpath) where most of the local ducks congregate to be fed by the well-meaning folk nearby.

Anyone seen them in use elsewhere?
 

pratincol

Well-known member
Thanks for the quick reply.

The 'landowner' is a farmer who uses the fields surrounding the marsh for cattle in the summer and sheep in the autumn. His other income is indeed from the shooting rights to the local shoot. I have noticed over recent years that the number of shots fired when they are there has declined markedly. This may be partly because there is a largish pond nearby (over the old railway line footpath) where most of the local ducks congregate to be fed by the well-meaning folk nearby.

Anyone seen them in use elsewhere?
Yes we've got several of them locally- erected by local wildfowlers to boost Mallard numbers. I've yet to see any birds using them though! Mallards do well round here despite them.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
Yes we've got several of them locally- erected by local wildfowlers to boost Mallard numbers. I've yet to see any birds using them though! Mallards do well round here despite them.

Many thanks. I suspected them from the outset: they were delivered on site by a man or men in a 4WD just like some of the vehicles the shooters use. The one in the photo above is in an area that the cattle access, Knowing how inquisitive they are, I can't see it lasting long…. more anon.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Many thanks. I suspected them from the outset: they were delivered on site by a man or men in a 4WD just like some of the vehicles the shooters use. The one in the photo above is in an area that the cattle access, Knowing how inquisitive they are, I can't see it lasting long…. more anon.
Nice rubbing posts for cows, knock them down and eat the hay? :-O
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
I've seen similar devices (minus the hay covering) at ponds here in our area. They are definitely for ducks. However, I've rarely seen them in use.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
I've seen similar devices (minus the hay covering) at ponds here in our area. They are definitely for ducks. However, I've rarely seen them in use.

Thanks Jeff. So perhaps one of the local shooters has been to the US and seen this idea over there.... Can't see it working here, most of the local Mallard are already on eggs anyway!
 

pratincol

Well-known member
Good to get further confirmation, thanks. Do they work?
They've been around here for about five years in locations where they should attract ducks; along a drainage ditch and next to a lake. There's about ten in total.
Both places are undisturbed by people or cows.
Neither has attracted even a pair of Mallard in the time they've been there.
I know that because I make a point of checking them every year.
Certainly in this area there's so many places for Mallards to breed succesfully they're surplus to requirements.
Not sure why they bothered erecting them in the first place!
 
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Jon Turner

Well-known member
They've been around here for about five years in locations where they should attract ducks; along a drainage ditch and next to a lake. There's about ten in total.
Both places are undistubed by people or cows.
Neither has attracted even a pair of Mallard in the time they've been there.
I know that because I make a point of checking them every year.
Certainly in this area there's so many places for Mallards to breed succesfully they're surplus to requirements.
Not sure why they bothered erecting them in the first place!

Sacks of desperation to me - anything to claim they're into conservation (creating breeding sites) but it's only to get more birds to shoot. Pathetic.
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
They've been around here for about five years in locations where they should attract ducks; along a drainage ditch and next to a lake. There's about ten in total.
Both places are undisturbed by people or cows.
Neither has attracted even a pair of Mallard in the time they've been there.
I know that because I make a point of checking them every year.
Certainly in this area there's so many places for Mallards to breed succesfully they're surplus to requirements.
Not sure why they bothered erecting them in the first place!

That's my take on them here in PA, too. They tend to end up in the middle of farm ponds (literally in the middle of the pond). However, if there's suitable habitat near the pond, the mallards will already be on that. If there's no suitable habitat nearby, the mallards aren't interested in these anyway.

I suspect they're being promoted here as a nest for Wood Ducks. But they are completely wrong as Wood Duck boxes, so they don't get used for that either.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
Latest

There was a very high tide last night, which overtopped the banks of the nearby river. The 'duck nests' site is looking as if it might get wet! Tee hee. :-O
 

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Jon Turner

Well-known member
Cattle

I think I mentioned up thread that the local cattle, when they arrive would be interested in these devices. Well they arrived yesterday and this is the result on one of the devices. Ha ha ha.:-O
 

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pratincol

Well-known member
Jon: I told you about the Mallard nests erected around our way. After years never even being used three were destroyed by the recent storms and haven't been replaced this Spring. Mallards are doing well without them anyway.
 

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