The highflying duck who racked up 70,000 views has returned to its nest in a planter on a Salford Quays balcony
Stephen Stuttard’s balcony in Salford Quays has become an unusual site for a mallard’s nest, who usually nest in vegetation close to the waterfront.
The ex-royal Navy Officer and RSPB member moved to his flat in Salford quays in 2008 and is a keen gardener keeping lots of plants of his balcony, which first attracted the birds 3 years ago.
He said “Suddenly, a Mrs. Mallard appeared on my balcony, and she started to wonder round and I’ve got a particular planter which she took her fancy to and decided to nest “
There are currently 15 eggs on the next, and Stephen hopes for a 50% survival rate of the ducklings.
Once the eggs have hatched, which should be after an incubation period of around 28 days, on the 25th of April. Stephen and his neighbours collect the birds in a bucket and lower them from the balcony using ropes.
He said: “So the easy way to do is to put them in a bucket, which acts as a megaphone and the call from the ducklings is really quite loud and you can hear it all round the quays, so I tie a bit of rope on it and lower it down”
and we’ve had challenges because of weather conditions, but each time we’ve managed to get them down”
Despite being on his balcony, he leaves the ducks to fend for themselves Mr stuttard said:” basically if I put food out and water it will attract other birds [and] although that’s nice, it not because you get seagulls, crows, magpies etcera ectera who will take the eggs so that’s why I don’t.”
Since nesting on Stephen’s balcony in the first 2020 lockdown, Mrs Mallard has become a celebrity in her own right, reaching 70,000 views and being featured on the BBC and television channels in Canada, along with Stephen featuring weekly on Claudia Winkleman’s radio show.