Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Splidge and Splodge!


Spidge & Splodge DSC_0198Splidge & Splodge 3 May 11 DSC_0203

Spring is a wonderful time at Seaview Wildlife – bursting with new life and hundreds of newly hatched ducklings …. it’s a wonderful sight!  Most of the ducks are wild – they choose to be in the Park and are free to come and go whenever they please.  Within the boundaries of Seaview Wildlife they’re protected from many of their natural predators; they have an ample supply of food, running water, lakes and waterfalls – as well as large stretches of green grass and safe places to hatch their broods under shrubs and hedges.


Fern with ducklings (resized) DSC_0190

However, without intervention by the Keepers, there’s little chance of most of the ducklings surviving.  Even within the relative safety of the Park there are predatory birds such as gulls, crows and ravens who snatch newly hatched ducklings in an instant. For this reason we endeavour to ‘catch up’ mother ducks and their offspring and move them to the safety of our ‘nursery enclosures’ until they’re old enough to fend for themselves.  In these safe nurseries they dabble and dive in the ponds and fluff themselves out on the grass - enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and tucking in to regular meals – without the normal worries of survival!

The image on the left shows Animal Keeper, Fern Daley, with two Mallard hybrid ducklings that have been named Splidge and Splodge by the Keepers.  We weren’t able to find their mother so they’re being hand-reared by the Animal Care Team.  Consequently Splidge and Splodge have become imprinted on humans (the Keepers represent a ‘mother figure’ to them).  Fortunately they’ll grow out of their ‘human dependency’ quite quickly and their natural instincts will prevail -  allowing them to be released once their primary feathers grow through.  Hopefully they’ll return to Seaview Wildlife to rear their own broods in years to come.

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