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Birds of the Water Wood & Waste

Note on the Mountain Duck

Note on the Mountain Duck.

Later than 1914 I have not seen Blue Duck on Tutira waters. Up to that date the chief river—the Waikahau—ran from source to sea through six large sheep stations. Now it flows through three times that number of smaller holdings.

We hear a great deal about exodus to the towns; is it wonderful when no trouble is taken to make country life agreeable and lovely to children, when every bird large enough to fill the pot is shot, when natural science is taught out of books instead of in page 13 the fields? In a properly conducted community there should be no place for such a book as “Birds of the Water, Wood and Waste.” Every child should have discovered for himself ten times the details registered in that unfortunately named volume.

I imagine the food supply of the Blue Duck is still plentiful; trout have not yet stocked the local streams in sufficient numbers to do harm; it is doubtful if ever they will. They are drowned in the yellow spates that from time to time sweep clean the river beds. The Mountain Duck, though shot off the bigger rivers, will nevertheless, I believe, still maintain itself in the deep ravines of the central run.