DUCK POPULATION

Food

REDUCING LAKE POLLUTION DRIVES AWAY DUCKS

Cleaning up a polluted lake ought to be a good thing for the birds that spend winters there, right ? Apparently not.

At more than 380 square kilometers, Lough Neagh is the British Isles’ biggest lake. It has also been a major wintering spot for pochard, tufted, and goldeneye ducks. But from 2000 to 2009, the number of diving ducks on the lake during the winter dropped by 63 percent. During that time, the density of bottom-dwelling macroinvertebrates dropped from 15,300 per square meter to about 5,000. That decrease in food supply might have driven ducks elsewhere. Conservation schemes are beginning to have an effect and reduce levels of pollution we are seeing increasing water quality and the unexpected consequence is fewer invertebrates and as a result less duck food

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