Look up to the trees - for duck boxes!

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When walking through Tayside’s woods you’ll probably see bat boxes and nesting boxes for smaller songbirds.

But if you take a wander around Lochs Tummel, Rannoch or Tay next spring you might spot something different – duck boxes.

Forestry Commission Scotland’s team in Tayside have sited 25 new duck boxes in trees around the lochs in a bid to encourage more Goldeneye ducks to take up residence and extend their breeding range through Rannoch and Tummel and onto the Tay.

Rob Coope for the Commission's Tay District team said:

“These ducks are pretty odd in that they prefer to nest in trees - usually in nest holes made by black woodpeckers.

"These holes are just the right size - the Goldeneye ducks can be very picky about where they nest -and are usually in the preferred range of between 102 to 115mm in diameter. They're also usually 4m or more off the ground – a real problem for the chicks when its time to leave.

"Unfortunately black woodpeckers aren't present on this side of the North Sea, so we've set about building these boxes to mimic the woodpecker nest holes."

Good numbers breed in Scandinavia but their presence in Tayside was first recorded at loch Tummel in 1996. It was only in 2001 that numbers started to pick up and this year was the best yet, with 11 nests and at least 65 ducklings on Loch Tummel alone.

Rob added:

"Perthshire is enjoying a growing reputation as one of the best places to go to see Goldeneye ducks, which used to only pay overwintering visits from Scandinavia, with a few scattered pairs nesting on Speyside.

"With these new boxes we hope to more than double the number of occupied nests in the area next year."

Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages, protects and expands the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that benefit biodiversity, communities, people and the economy.   www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland

e-mail: paul.munro@forestry.gsi.gov.uk