Friday, November 5, 2010

Springing up in November, the ducklings born four months out of season


Morning swim: The mallard that has given birth to six ducklings takes to the water at the nature reserve with four of her brood

Swimming along the river, these four ducklings could be from any photo of the spring.
However the mother of these female mallards, and their two other sisters, seems to have got her timing a little wrong.

Born four months out of season, the ducklings have taken to the water at the Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire.

The unseasonal weather appears to be to blame, with mild temperatures in September and October the possible cause of the unseasonal brood.

And while it is uncommon for ducks to be born at this time of year, it is not unheard of according to Tim Sexton, the assistant manager at the Attenborough Nature Reserve.

'It's great for us here at the reserve and it has attracted quite a crowd already,' said Mr Sexton.

'Maybe (the mother thought) that spring had already come and she'd missed winter or maybe she just wanted to take a chance and try and raise another brood for the year.'

Normally the breeding season for ducklings is between March and July, where they will give birth to one, and sometimes two, fleets of ducklings.

But it appears this duck really has got confused, because she also gave birth at the same time last year.

The lives of the ducklings will be tough to start with, as the chances of survival after being born at this time of year are slim.

However the reserve hope the good weather will continue and give them a fighting chance of getting through the winter.

'You feel like you want to help them out,' Mr Sexton continued.

'The chance of survival for them is slight and the risk of predation, with them being the only family of ducklings on the reserve, is quite high.

'We have a policy here where we let nature take its course. We'll see how she gets on.'

source: dailymail

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