Long way down
High in a tree, a nest box holds an unusual inhabitant. The goldeneye is one of Britain’s few hole-nesting ducks, usually selecting trees to keep their eggs away from ground predators, so they’re happy to take on nest boxes. The females have a chestnut head, with a white belly and soft grey back, while the male goldeneye shows where they get their name, with a white flash on their face which is used during displays. In this first nest box, the female began laying one egg a day, ending up with 13 eggs. Once the last egg was laid, she began to incubate them, this should mean they will all hatch at the same time. The female left the nest from time to time, but sadly after one of these excursions, she didn’t return. There are many predators around these forests including foxes, goshawks and even eagles any one of which may have taken the duck, and sadly it means the eggs will never hatch. The team found a new nest, though were unable to install a camera as it was already occupied. Instead, they introduced a microphone to allow them to monitor when the chicks began to hatch. From that moment on, a camera team was ready and waiting to capture the moment when the chicks left the nest which is usually only one or two days after hatching.
Available since: Wed 2 Jun 2010
- Bill Oddie
- Kate Humble
- Simon King
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