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  • Writer's pictureRae Gellel

Spring 2023 Has Arrived - & We're Already Back Rescuing Ducklings at the Royal Arsenal...

Today we had nine separate rescues in a row, and exhausted isn’t the word! The day isn’t even over yet.

One of these nine was at our old haunt, the place we spend half our lives during the summer months - you guessed it, the Royal Arsenal complex.

A mallard duck had once again nested on an island in one of the complex’s many ornamental lagoons, and once hatched, her ducklings had entered the heavily chlorinated water. Thankfully for this little family, residents had installed make shift ramps in the lagoon, which enabled the ducklings to exit the water onto the islands and prevented them from getting exhausted and drowning. Nonetheless, this is only a temporary fix as the water is chemically treated and there are no natural food sources in the lagoons, so ducklings sadly often die if left there for the long term.

As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, the biggest challenged involved in relocating these mallard families is catching the mother duck, who can simply fly away if you get anywhere near. Often she gets spooked and abandons her ducklings, which is very upsetting. I’m very happy to report that on this occasion however, I managed to net mum fairly quickly. We then rounded up the ducklings with relative ease, too.

The entire family were taken to a local ravine, a much more suitable home for them, and released.

We always fret about their chances of survival in the wild, and did spend some time trying to scare off a randy male mallard that was harassing the mother duck, but there’s a limit to how much we can and should interfere in nature. It’s difficult to detach from these situations but we’ve done our part in returning them to a more natural habitat and saving them from a near certain death.

Fingers crossed that some of this little family make it to adulthood, and many thanks to my mum, Fran and Paige for their help with this rescue, and also a big thank you to Les who donated 10 walkie talkies last year that are extremely useful for these kinds of rescues. While we were rescuing the ducklings, posts about three unwell or injured pigeons and a fox cub had accumulated!

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