“Ideal time” to install duck nest tubes, says BASC

The shooting and conservation community is being urged to help with its duck monitoring project by building and installing nest tubes.

Duck nest tubes offer security and protection for breeding ducks, such as mallard, and have been proven to increase hatching success rates. Through a monitoring project, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation aims to learn more about nesting successes and aid the conservation of the species.

Sophie Stafford, BASC’s science advisor, said: “Mallard nests are often destroyed before the eggs have a chance to hatch through predation, trampling from livestock or disturbance from dog walkers.

“Elevated off the ground and over water, nest tubes offer security from the elements and protection from predators and disturbance. These tubes have been shown in other countries to boost hatching success.

“With ducks soon to begin pairing up, now is the ideal time to build and install duck nest tubes.”

The project statistics from 2022 showed a 48 per cent occupancy rate from 225 nests, of which 98 per cent had signs of successful hatching.

Sophie added: “The significant hatching success highlights the role duck nest tubes can play in conserving mallard and other breeding ducks. Our priority now is to keep growing the occupancy rate through learning more about why tubes are taken up and increasing the number constructed.”

In the last year, BASC’s regional staff have hosted duck nest tube workshops for larger projects with wildfowling clubs, local groups and colleges.

Sophie continued: “Clubs, organisations and syndicates should contact their BASC regional office to enquire about workshop availability to help increase the number of nest tubes installed.”

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