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male goldeneye duck

Goldeneye Ducks

Goldeneye ducks used to be thought of as just winter visitors to Scotland, but have now become a consistent breeding species, mostly due to the large number of nesting boxes that are provided by enthusiasts.

Unfortunately the boxes, which are usually mounted on trees, can easily be predated by pine martens with the resulting loss of the eggs. This behaviour was witnessed and photographed in May 2004 from the badger hide and again in May 2006.

pine marten stealing eggs

Pine Marten about to steal goldeneye duck eggs

RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage are experimenting with sheets of shiny plastic and metal which they wrap around the trees in the hope that they will be too slippery for the pine martens to climb.

We in BoG-WiG took the idea a stage further and mounted two boxes directly on top of plastic sewer pipes which have now become known as Bantick Poles, thanks to the Vincent Wildlife Trust, the BBC and others. The ducks took to the boxes like - well, ducks - and laid 14 eggs in one and 16 in the other and the pine martens failed to gain access to them.

goldeneye duck nesting box on slippery pole

Goldeneye duck nest box on a Bantick Pole (sewer pipe!)