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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Duck eggs in Todmorden

These eggs were laid under nettles on the tow path at Todmorden. The nettles have died down now. They're near the town centre, where all the feral Mallards are fed by people. 

Birds, especially waterfowl, are known for "dumping" eggs in other birds' nests. There might be the produce of more than one duck here.  

At the Raptor Forum we heard in a fringe conversation about a Peregrine pair on a sea cliff  seen tenderly feeding their prey to some Herring Gull chicks! That was in the SW of England. 

This could be how nest parasitism evolved. It seemed a real conundrum to me till I heard about egg dumping. I've also read that there are various forms of it. Our northern Cuckoo's habit is the most extreme example.


  1. It's interesting,it could be more than one birds clutch though they do all look of similar age ie fresh and usually an older clutch gets heavily stained /discoloured,.They are obviously very fresh as Corvids haven't located them yet ! I did find a Grey Partridge nest a while back with 21 eggs so wether that was one birds clutch who knows,also Blue/Great Tits are well known for laying in each others nest.Its a late date though maybe that very mild spell had something to do with it !

  2. Hi Brian,
    that's interesting - I see Grey Partridges and Pheasants a lot but have never been lucky enough to find any nests. I think game birds do typically have about 20 eggs in a clutch.

    Have you ever thought of filling in Nest Record Cards for the BTO? They want records of all wild or feral birds, and have a list of target species they especially need records of.

  3. Hi Steve,it's just time to fit it all in , just too many interests on the go ! I have done n r cs for Twite and Schedule 1 quite a few years back.