Half Tjörnin's Duck Species Dying Off

Half Tjörnin’s Duck Species Dying Off

Published August 7, 2014

Photo by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

Three of the six duck species at the pond Tjörnin in Reykjavík are dying off, and will disappear if nothing is done.

Vísir reports that Ólafur Karl Nielsen, an ornithologist for The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH), has recently concluded a count of the ducks at Tjörnin. The results, although not final, are hardly cause for celebration.

Six different species of duck nest around Tjörnin, but three of them are dying out: the Greater scaup, the gadwall and the common eider.

The reasons for the dying off are many. Cats, ravens and seagulls will attack eggs and ducklings alike, nesting areas are being encroached upon by development in nearby Vatnsmýri, and there is a decline in naturally occuring food while ducks compete with seagulls for nourishment.

On the bright side, the Eurasian teal has made its first appearance at Tjörnin, and has begun nesting there. Earlier this summer, the City of Reykjavík also released 20 eiders at Vatnsmýri, and have been providing them with food. In the long term, however, it is hoped that the ducks will be able to fend for themselves.

In the meantime, duck lovers hoping to help out are still advised to not give the ducks bread. Instead, toss them grapes cut in half, cracked corn, thawed peas or – if you can find it – duck feed pellets.

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