12 orphaned ducklings saved after mother duck killed at Great Yarmouth's Waterways
PUBLISHED: 13:35 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 24 April 2019
A brood of 12 newly-hatched ducklings have been saved in the nick of time after their mother was likely killed by a dog.
The alert was raised by a member of the public at around 7pm on Tuesday, April 23, who was concerned to discover the youngsters, some still half in their shells, alone in their nest.
Dan Goldsmith, of Marine and Wildlife Rescue, dashed to the scene, and said he arrived in the nick of time.
The mother lay dead nearby with puncture wounds in her back.
Her body was still warm, Mr Goldsmith said, indicating the incident had happened within the previous half hour, although the chicks were quiet and cold, barely clinging to life.
He said: “Tragically I am pretty sure it was a dog. People need to be aware there are vulnerable nesting birds on the ground. Even if you do not see them dogs have an amazing sense of smell and will pick up their scent.
“Whether it was just playing or decided it wanted to chew on it, this is the result.”
The mallard family are being cared for at Mr Goldsmith's home in Brasenose Avenue, Gorleston, where they are being given additional warmth and fed pellets.
They are all recovering well and will need some six weeks of mothering before they can be released, probably on private land provided by some of the charity's supporters.
Mr Goldsmith, a self-employed gardener, said the mother duck would have sat on her nest for 28 days keeping her eggs safe.
She was probably attacked on the nest just at the moment the clutch was emerging - a process that can take up to 12 hours.
Had they been left much longer they would certainly have died of cold or been picked off by seagulls.
The nest was well-concealed, close to the Waterway's entrance at the southern end.
At the time the gardens were busy with people enjoying an evening stroll.
On Easter Sunday an estimated 5,000 people flocked to The Waterway's re-opening following the main phase of a multi-million pound regeneration project.
Mr Goldsmith said the incident leading to the duck's death may have been over quickly, and possibly not anyone's fault, although he called for care as people enjoyed the attraction in North Drive.