The 4 South pavilion building has two small green areas, one of which has a small pond. The area has over the years regularly been a nesting place for our campus ducks. Over the past few years, however, many new-born ducklings on campus haven’t survived because of predators.
“Just over 2 years ago, a small brood of six ducklings were guided through the building and out to the pond. We knew which ones they were as we shook a bucket of food, and they would come running. We added feeding of pavilion chicks in our weekend/holiday rota and this became a routine, with admin and academic staff feeding them on weekdays”, a member of staff recalls.
On 8 August this year, she had a message that another brood of ducklings was in the pavilion.
“I knew there was a real chance of survival this time. All seagull and crow chicks had fledged, so they wouldn't be so interested in the ducklings. This was a first-time mum who herself had hatched there.”
Five ducklings survived and the team had the rewarding moment of releasing them into the lake on Friday 3 September. The ducks are still well.
In May, members of staff also looked after an egg left behind by the mother duck. The egg was placed in an incubator and a little duckling emerged on 15 June. It received home care from staff members taking turns and was visited by staff from several departments.
The duckling became so used to being around humans that it would not have integrated at the lake. Luckily, she found a perfect home in Kent. She is now a pampered house duck and has learnt to fly.