News, opinion and pictures from sunny Nairnshire - keep in touch, bookmark the Gurn
Great just what we need more "input " from the nairn duck and swan fanatics. I was unfortunate enough to witness a small child in tears last year as her mum was told that they will kill the ducks feeding them white bread! - lets face it there seems to be a thriving population down there and the white bread has has few adverse reactions as far as I can see.
I usually enjoy the various signs around the harbour and the fishertown but I find the wording of this one a little odd.In describing river Nairn wildlife… ‘occasionally dolphins and seals can be seen, especially when the tide is in’I have seen a seal many a time in the river but never when the tide was out and as for a dolphin?!Don’t even try and obtain a little bit of pleasure feeding duck chicks (Ducklings?) or nasty Mr Gull will come along and gobble them all up, but only during the months of April, May and June. Should we be encouraged to scare off other duck chick predators as well, for herons are quite partial to the odd duckling or two. And then there are those nasty humans some of whom enjoy roast duck, beware of them.I always thought gulls were wildlife and deserved the odd breadcrumb as much as any other creature but no, the sign says ‘PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE GULLS’So there we have it, don’t do this and don’t do that and watch out for the odd dolphin walking up the river at low tide.I remember when you could have something called ‘fun’.On a positive note nice to see a bit of gaelic
@ anon with the 'White bread “bad for swans”' article - please could you provide a link to that news article you mention and then the Gurn will be delighted to publish your post.
I went through exactly the same on more than one occasion whislt feeding the ducks to, I was told I was responsible for seagulls eating baby duck chicks. The ducks have been fed down here for a mighty long time and still survive. We can not interfear with natures way. so please leave us citizens in peace to enjoy our time feeding the birds as we have done for generations.
Maybe that is the problem,the ducks don't understand the gaelic.
Rock chick... i totally agree with you on the seagull issue, although there is no love between me and the gulls and they can be a pain in the butt , but yes why should they not get the odd breadcrumb, they are trying to survive like all the wildlife on our river and do what is programmed in to them, survival ! so in my eyes, either you are a lover of all things nature or you have double standards !
The "white bread bad for Swans" is a direct quote from an article published last summer in a north newspaper. The advice given in the article holds true then and now.If you publish everyone else's comments why not mine ?
I believe the "white bread bad for Swans" article was from the P and J, but i was handed only the cutting last summer.I'm sure the SSPCA will verify the Article.
Talking about double standards ! Why wont the Gurn publish the genuine newspaper article i sent in it's entirety ?Scared of some expert opinion perhaps ?
All Anonymous was asked for was a link to the news article which he/she has not provided although he/she seems to claim they sent it in its entirety. A search of the Press and Journal site reveals no such article although it may have appeared in print only, in which case Anonymous could have scanned in the article he/she has in their possession and sent it via e-mail. However, a quick search on the internet reveals a similar article to the one Anonymous refers to which was published in the Scotsman in February 2008:'GENERATIONS of families have strolled to beauty spots armed with bread to feed one of the country's most popular birds.But wildlife experts in Scotland have urged the public to help save swans by feeding them brown loaves instead of white.A lack of nutrients in white bread is leaving the birds crippled with a condition similar to rickets in humans. Their limbs become so weak that the birds are unable to dive for food.Leftover bread in the water can lead to poisonous blooms of blue-green-algae, posing another danger to the birds.' The full article dated 15 Feb 2008 can be seen here.So Anonymous there are no ‘double standards involved’. You did not provide full details as was requested so how could we publish something in its 'entirety'? We would also need correct attribution to the article and we could not do this. You also make assumptions that all comments are published; ‘If you publish everyone else's comments why not mine ?’, this is not the case as, for various reasons, not all comments are published. A little patience would not go amiss; give us a chance to respond!
I was planning to publish this in March, but now seems an appropriate time in view of the concerted attack on me and the wildlife panel.Can i say first of all that the information panel is there for visitors as well as locals. The mention of Dolphins was input from the region and not me, but since they can be seen from the pier occasionally, and i have seen a seal in the harbour at low tide, so i have no problem with both being mentioned.The important advice regarding the duck chicks and seagulls is self evident, but please read on. Wildlife AppealWith spring in the air and nesting season now under way, I would like to make an appeal to the residents of Nairn on behalf of the river wildlife.During the months of April May and June many broods of ducks will hatch and we will all be bowled over by how tiny and cute they are.Instinctively people want to nurture and feed them breadcrumbs from day one.This outpouring of goodwill is however disastrous for the brood and usually proves fatal !Last year I counted 75 ducklings that had hatched in the town waters from the jubilee bridge to the harbour. Sadly 52 of these were killed by gulls crows and herons, the most worrying aspect is that this is increasing year on year. The reason is the increase in well meaning people who wish to feed the wildlife, oblivious to the danger they pose to the newly hatched chicks.Over the past 6 years I have watched and studied and photographed some of the habits of our local river birds. As with all living things, procreation and survival are the unstoppable driving force in spring time.The river Nairn environment is particularly dangerous for newly hatched chicks because of the large numbers of herring gulls coupled with herons and crows, not to mention cats dogs and mink, all of which are skilful predators. The Mother duck can produce up to 15 chicks and she will do her best to keep them safe, this she does by keeping them close to the river bank where they can feed on seeds, aquatic plants and insects etc. The dangers are numerous and the heron is often located motionless on the rivers edge waiting for a brood to pass by. Hoody crows often work in pairs and approach the brood from 2 sides, knowing that the mother cant be in two places at the same time. The Gulls are opportunist and will grab a chick when given the chance, these chances are most often provided by well meaning people out for a stroll to feed the ducks. I have witnessed this on several occasions. The well meaning person spots a brood, pulls out some bread and throws it on top of the brood which are then pounced on by gulls circling close by. A feeding frenzy then ensues and the chicks are picked off by marauding gulls ! There is an argument that this is nature and that’s why the duck produces so many offspring. This to some extent is probably true, however when humans out of ignorance bring a flock of predators on top of the brood this is not nature!I have watched with admiration some of these mother ducks trying to keep their broods safe, on one occasion I saw one attack a heron and grab it by the wing momentarily when the heron tried to grab a chick. The mother ducks also have a big problem with the drakes when they show up with a large brood. This seems to excite the drakes, probably because they can see how fertile the duck has been and want to mate with her to pass on their genes. Even this can prove fatal to the chicks, because the mother duck is trying to fend off several drakes and in the process separated from the helpless chicks. They scatter, and the heron, crows and gulls again pick them off! Sadly nothing can be done about this natural eventGulls have probably been around longer than humans and make very good use of urban environments, several well meaning people walk round the river with carrier bags full of bread, throwing it to the ducks and gulls without a thought to the consequences on any nearby broods.One particular weekend last June I was pleased to witness the arrival of 2 new broods, one of 13 and another of 10. I took photos of the broods and knew the mother ducks well, It was a sunny weekend and there were the usual strollers and weekenders. On the Monday morning I came down to check on them and was gutted to see them both alone with no chicks, all 23 had been killed !I believe someone had probably thrown bread on top of them causing a feeding frenzy of herring gulls.Don’t get me wrong, we all have to survive and the gulls herons and crows are all feeding their young too, but when entire broods are wiped out because of human intervention then something has to be said.Until duck chicks are about a month old and the size of a Starling, they are easy prey to the predators.In any case newly hatched chicks cannot eat bread and would choke if they tried. Therefore I appeal on behalf of the Nairn river ducks to please please please do not try to feed duck chicks during April May and June, this is the only way to preserve and increase the joy and pleasure to all the residents and visitors to Nairn. I am unashamedly quackers about our river ducks.
@anon of 00.56As previously mentioned, some comments do not get published on this blog, your comment is one of them.
Due to the content of more comments received this post is now locked. Once again a few breadcrumbs have proved to be an emotive issue, the Gurnmeister can't be bothered going any further down this path.
Post a Comment