The most unlikely Egg Predator

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We have been living a good duck egg life for the past year.

9-13 eggs every morning without a hitch.

Actually when it was super cold this past February, negative 30 or so for almost two weeks, they almost all stopped laying for a few days and then ones that did lay, well their eggs were frozen solid by the time I got to them. That was a brutal two weeks for sure.

This spring, the ducks enjoyed a yummy full pasture of new meadow grasses, worms and bugs. They were happily exploring and running from one end of the pasture to another will wild spring joy like almost all animals do after a hard winter.

And then we started to notice eggs with pecked holes in them. Eggs that were crushed, eggs missing.

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We literally built Fort Duckworth to withstand any predator, no skunk or raccoon or hawk could get in there and do this. So what was going on? Cannibalistic behavior? They never did it before so why now? But I just really couldn’t believe that.

So I decided to spend an entire morning in the orchard and veggie garden, doing chores and extra weeding to see if I could spot anything unusual. It seemed to happen between 7-10am.

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There were crows, magpies, sharp shinned hawks, maybe, possibly, it was one of those?

And then there they were, doves, Mourning Doves. They walked through the little duck door like they were reporting for duty, and then more lined up on the roof. Six total on the roof and four inside Fort Duckworth.

I went in and shut the door to try and trap them and truly identify them, and this was the photo I snapped super quickly.

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Freaking Mourning Doves.

We lost 42 eggs in one week because of these doves.

So another addition to Fort Duckworth, A flight net enclosed yard and a smaller duck door to the pasture. It is awesome so far, and the only other thing I am going to add are hanging CD’s to keep the other song birds away.

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Truly, Fort Duckworth was the nicest structure on the property and now it really is the BEST structure on the property!

Nancy

 

9 comments

  1. The picture isn’t super clear, but that looks like a Eurasian collared dove to me, not a mourning dove. They are a non-native species and have a very ugly call.

    1. Hi Erin, yes that is what I thought as well and googled it to try to identify and then took the photo to FWP and they said definitely mourning dove. It does look a lot like the ring neck to me as well – Nancy

  2. I can hardly believe those lovely little morning doves were the rascals! Glad you solved the problem and enjoy the CD music when you are in the fort.

  3. That is a Ringed-Neck Dove. They are an invasive species and horrid about pecking eggs. All kinds of eggs…which is one reason our bird populations suffer when the Collard-Dove species is around. Here in Colorado, it is open hunting season on those birds year-round. I don’t know about where you live, but I would imagine it is the same.

    1. Linda thank you – so I looked on line to identify and it came up Eurasian ring neck dove as well, and then I took the photo to FWP and they said nope it was a Mourning Dove … I believe you can hunt the ring necks all year as well because they are not native, the mourning doves it is a licensed season. Hope you are well, nancy

  4. I remember a bizarre predator that I had was actually killing chickens and for the life of me I could not figure it out. The deaths were happening overnight and there was no way for a skunk or raccoon to get into their pen. I set up a game camera and it turned out that a chicken hawk found a small hole in the netting and would get in overnight and kill hens. Predators keep you on your toes for sure from birds to eggs, I’m glad you figured it out!

    1. yes agree! Today I go to hang up CD’s as the song birds are now eating the ducklings food and chasing the ducklings off of it … They are good adventures, just constant and a reminder that nature has other plans than ours ❤ Nancy

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