Build nest tubes to boost mallard numbers, says BASC - BASC

BASC is calling on members and the wider shooting and conservation community to make and install duck nest tubes, and record their usage, in a bid to help improve the breeding success of the declining mallard as part of a Europe-wide initiative.

BASC has joined forces with the Waterfowlers’ Network, a group of hunting organisations from across Europe, to promote the use of mallard nest tubes and to monitor their usage in the hope of improving the breeding success of mallard which is currently an amber-listed, declining species.

Duck tubes would need to be built and installed by the end of February, ready for the start of the breeding season in March. A data collection form will go live on the Waterfowlers’ Network website in June after the breeding season has finished.

Kiri Thompson, assistant biodiversity officer at BASC, said: “Mallard are our most numerous breeding duck species however their population has been in decline in the UK since the 1980s. Mallard nests are often destroyed before the eggs have chance to hatch through for a number of reasons including predation, trampling from livestock or disturbance from dog walkers. The success rates from ground nests can be as low as 15 per cent. Nest tubes offer security and protection from the elements and elevate nests off the ground. When used properly these tubes have been shown in other countries to boost fledgling success. BASC and the Waterfowlers’ Network wish to monitor the success rate in the UK and discover what, if any, features impact success rate.”

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Posted On: 11/02/2021

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