A Templemore ornithologist who thinks he may have a world record on his hands, was disappointed this week to be told there was no such category in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most ducklings born to one mallard duck.
Francis Cummins took a photo showing some 27 ducklings swimming with their mammy on the Lake in Templemore. Francis said the mallard duck had 28 in her clutch the previous day, but he did not have his camera with him at the time to record this amazing feat of abundance. While there is such a record in the USA, the ‘duck authorities’ across the pond only accept records set in America.
Francis then contacted the Guinness Book of World Records. Not only did they tell Francis they weren’t interested, the record keepers went so far as to tell Francis to proceed with his “activity” at “his own risk.” The rather terse response continues as follows: “Thank you for sending us the details of your recent record attempt for ‘most ducklings of a mallard duck’. We are afraid to say that we are unable to accept this as a Guinness World Record.
“We receive over 60,000 enquiries a year from which only a small proportion are approved by our experienced researchers to establish new categories. These are not ‘made up’ to suit an individual proposal, but rather ‘evolve’ as a result of international competition in a field, which naturally accommodates superlatives of the sort that we are interested in. We think you will appreciate that we are bound to favour those that reflect the greatest interest.
“Guinness World Records has absolute discretion as to which record applications are accepted and our decision is final. Guinness World Records may at its discretion and for whatever reason identify some records as either no longer monitored by Guinness World Records or no longer viable.
“As your record application has not been accepted, Guinness World Records is in no way associated with the activity relating to your record proposal and we in no way endorse this activity. If you choose to proceed with this activity then this is will be of your own volition and at your own risk. Once again thank you for your interest in Guinness World Records.”
Francis told the Tipperary Star he was very disappointed considering this is one of the most rare and wonderful sights you could see walking around the lake. “I have seen large clutches but never anything like this. Well to say I was a bit disgruntled at not having my application even acknowledged was an understatement so I contacted them again, and (the above letter) was my reply.” It may not be in the record books, but the Tipperary Star contacted Birdwatch Ireland who confirmed it as a very unusual occurrence.
Brian Caffrey said there could be a number of explanations for such a huge brood, including that the mallard ‘adopted’ other ducklings as her own. The eider duck is also known to take in chicks “under their wings”, forming a nursery group, said Mr Caffrey. “It could not be proven that the 27 were hers. A brood of 27 seems impossible, the maximum would be about 10 or 12.”