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Mandarin Duck Visits.......

We have two owl nest boxes at Yew View. One is quite close to the house and this is the box that they choose to nest in. Sadly the eggs broke this year, so we have no tawny owl family for 2023.

The other box is at the far end of the garden, facing the River Severn. We call it 'Owl Mansion'! It is a quiet location and it gets the sun for most of the day. Its large balcony makes it a popular daytime roost and Strix, the male has been using it quite a lot up until a few weeks ago.

In the last few weeks, we have seen very little of Strix and Aluco, the tawny owls. This has meant the Owl Mansion has been pretty quiet. We have started to have some visits from a quiet unexpected pair.... mandarin ducks!

The mandarin duck was introduced from the Far East, where it can still be found in China, Japan, Korea and parts of Russia. The male is simply stunning, with unreal plumage! The female is more subtle, with a lovely white eye line. Mandarins escaped, or were deliberately released, from captivity in the UK, where they have now established themselves in some parts of the country. We have a pair that arrive every year, around March. These ducks mate for life. Rather than nesting on the ground, like most ducks, these nest in holes in trees, sometimes high up and a long way from the water. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, the female flies down and encourages the young to jump from the nest. They then make their way back to water, with the male returning to the family and help to protect the ducklings.

This box, although much bigger than their normal natural nesting hole, they have visited several times and they seem very interested!

It would be so lovely to have this pair nesting in this box. If it looks like they will, I may add a ramp inside the box as it is very deep and the ducklings would struggle to get up to the entrance. The box does have a door at the back. I could open this when they are ready to leave and they could exit via the rear entrance!


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