Landing rights (rites?)

To: "'martin butterfield'" <>, "'Cog line'" <>
Subject: Landing rights (rites?)
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 21:12:59 +1100

G’day Martin and all,


Many years ago while working on ducks in a large swamp near Booligal in central NSW, I saw Pacific Black Ducks, Grey Teal and Australian Wood Ducks and the occasional Australian Shelduck launch themselves into space and plummet to the water below, often from over 50+ feet up – all their nesting trees were in quite deep water. Pink-eared Ducks generally nested much lower on tree stumps or low abandoned cormorant or egret nests and had much less of a drop. Most managed to land in the water but every now and then one would hit various sticks at what seemed like not very nice angles. I can remember watching several PB Ducklings hitting this particular large stick upside down across their back. They looked for all the world as though they had broken their backs as they floated upside down with their head under water for about a minute.  Suddenly, as though by a pre-arranged signal, they all righted themselves and happily paddled off after Mum and their siblings. We all need to remember that the ducklings are nothing more than a big ball of fluff at this stage so they can bounce pretty well. Even some of the ducklings in the Planet Earth program hit the ground pretty hard, away from the thicker leaf litter. In our forests the leaf litter is often hard and coarse, unlike that of the northern hemisphere forests. I am not sure burning would really have any effect on how hard they hit the ground in Australia.


If I remember when I go in to the ANWC tomorrow I will check out the weight of some duckling specimens we have – they don’t weigh much and are tough little buggers!






From: martin butterfield [
Sent: Sunday, 4 March 2007 8:46 PM
To: Cog line
Subject: [canberrabirds] Landing rights (rites?)


I have just watched Planet Earth which featured inter alia Mandarin Ducks emerging from a nest hollow and plummeting to earth.  It seemed to me that the soft landing in leaf litter played a large part in their survival..  Has anyone researched the importance of a soft surface on the survival of Australian Wood Duck chicks?  Do hazard reduction burns reduce the survival of the ducklings by removing the litter under the nest hollows?



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