Action needed to protect the ducks

July 02 2020

Copy of a letter sent to The Bishop’s Palace and shared with Wells Voice:

MY husband and I live next door to The Bishop’s Palace and are regular followers of activity within the moat, including the swans and ducks. We have Wells Heritage Passes. It has been a delight to watch the six cygnets thrive these past few weeks.

We had been informed that no ducklings were born this year, possibly because rats or some newly arrived otters had taken their eggs. Therefore we were pleasantly surprised to see two small ducklings swimming in the moat around six days ago.

However, in recent days we have noticed a change in the behaviour of the male swan. He has been inclined to display aggressive behaviour to the other occupants of the moat, principally the ducks. Then today, around lunchtime, we saw one of the two small ducklings; we assume that the other has not survived, and watched with astonishment as the male swan repeatedly attacked the duckling’s mother with extraordinary ferocity. The duckling’s mother was eventually driven to another part of the moat away from her remaining offspring, who disappeared and was not sighted again by any of the people watching. We assume that it was drowned in the incident.

We would like to ask that you consider taking action to protect the ducks and their nests from predators during the 2021 nesting season. In addition, we would ask you to erect a metal guard around the weir to prevent ducklings (and cygnets) from being carried into the stream below the moat. Unless this is done, the duck population may not survive.

Barry and Anne Coulton