new ducklings grouped together in grass


University of Hull Cohen building welcomes fluffy new arrivals

The University’s resident ducks were recently joined by 22 ducklings which hatched from two broods near the Cohen building.

It has become an annual tradition at the University, with the nearby Hull Marine Lab team on hand to care for the new arrivals before they can be released.

For the last six years, ducklings have been hatching on campus, with this year seeing two mother ducks coming to nest with both broods hatching at the same time.

ducklings and mother duck waddling across campus
new ducklings grouped together in grass

This recent hatching comes after the University was awarded platinum status for being a wildlife-friendly campus. Multiple steps are taken each year to increase biodiversity and become a more sustainable university organisation, including dead trees being left as monoliths for wildlife, insect houses and bird boxes installed, and animals cared for where possible.

The infamous Cohen ducks are looked after by the Hull Marine Lab staff. Marine Surveyor at the Hull Marine Laboratory, Julita Ruskyte, said: “When the two broods hatched, we had quite a good survival rate as both mums and one of the dads were on guard duty for most of the time to keep the crows away and the sleepy Cohen fox cannot get at them either.

“The remaining ducklings were taken out of the quad at the weekend and released to a local river. We take on the feeding and watering before they are released, which we wait to do so until they’re a bit bigger, and always make sure we have the food ready for them, with a balanced diet in mind.

“We start by feeding them baby chick crumbs as it has all the nutrients necessary for growth. After about three weeks, we introduce different foods such as peas, oats, lettuce and their favourite watermelon.

We’ve been doing this for a few years now and we discovered that one of this year’s female mallards was actually born and bred in the Cohen quad, as she was wearing a leg tag from three or four years ago.

Julita Ruskyte

While another hatch may be possible further along in the year, the team recently released the ducklings into Beverley Beck.

“Every year we release the ducklings when they get bigger, giving them a better chance of survival.

For the past few years, we have been releasing the family in Beverley Beck as it is the perfect habitat for them to survive and thrive,” says Julita.

The University of Hull campus welcomes and cares for wildlife as much as possible, with work ongoing as part of the wider strategy. This work isn’t just limited to the campus either, with support often given to local organisations to assist with creating biodiversity conservation. This recently included a project at the local East Park, where a wildflower meadow was created.

To read more about the University of Hull strategy for a fairer, brighter and more carbon neutral future, read here.

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