Is the frog in my photo about to spawn? Readers’ nature queries

Spawning frogs, wood pigeons, mallards and ducklings, and long-tailed tits


I saw the frog in my photograph in some long grass, unable to move. Is it a female about to spawn?

David Fallon

Duncormick, Co Wexford

So it would seem.

The photo I’m sending you shows the result of a wood pigeon crashing into our kitchen window. The oily feathers left a fossil-like impression of the moment of impact. The pigeon survived.

Ciarán Mc Manus

Blackrock, Co Dublin

On January 9th I saw a mallard and nine ducklings at Limerick docks. She must have started laying in mid-December.

Tim Dennehy


Normally mallards breed during March, April and May. A severe cold spell could have a bad effect on these ducklings.

Long-tailed tits were feeding at the nut feeders in my garden. I’ve never seen them use feeders before. There was a flock of about 12 flitting around them at the time.

Richard Conlon

Cootehill, Co Cavan

Family groups of long-tailed tits form winter flocks of related adults and their young as a survival strategy. They roost huddled together along a branch, to keep warm, as their smallness makes them vulnerable on cold nights. They roam a fairly wide territory and use feeders when they find them.

With reference to the dead fox without a tail (“Eye on Nature”, February 4th) I have been told that some gun clubs may pay a bounty for fox tails, as evidence of extermination. The National Association of Regional Game Councils has some guidance on predator control and the law at

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at Please include a postal address