Moorhen winter advice

Good Morning all, 

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. We have a family of 5 Moorhens (Mum, Dad, one from the first clutch and two from the second) on our large pond. We feed them daily and they have become very tame. We would really like to think they will stay with us over winter. What is the likelihood of this and does anyone have any advice on how we could encourage this please? 

Many thanks Mick and Sally 

  • I have a large garden pond with a pair of Moorhens who raised 3 clutches last year with a total of 21 young fledged and two clutches this year with 11 young fledged (one nest failed after falling into the water during bad weather). You will find that around the month of December the adults will drive most of the young away to find their own territories. This is a completely natural process and drives the success and spread of the species. Moorhens do however have one unusual feature in that they often keep one of the females from this year's broods and take it through the winter with them, so that it can act as an "Aunt" and help them raise next years young. This is a fascinating process to watch and I have seen the combined group of three adults drive off several determined predators, including a Sparrowhawk which they attacked on the ground after it had grabbed on of their half grown chicks, forcing it to release its prey. The youngster limped for a few days but made a full recovery. I'm sure that you will have hours of enjoyment watching this fascinating species.
  • In reply to

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge. We have a regular Heron who we think may have taken a couple of chicks earlier in the year.