Canterbury’s duck expert James Cosgrove

Over the last 14 years, James Cosgrove has volunteered and privately helped raise and release close to 200 ducks to Canterbury’s river Stour.


We caught up with James Cosgrove to find out a little bit more about his love for animals, particularly ducks, and how he’s worked to improve the life of the local duck population in the area. James’ love for this waterfowl began at an early age, feeding them on his way to school and proudly pronouncing to his teacher that ducks were his favourite animal, above the common answers like tigers and gorillas.


However, it was James’ dad’s interaction with a duck when he was just ten years old that spurred his passion for rehabilitation. The first duck James helped was through his dad at around 10 years old; “We had a big garden that backs on to the River Stour, and a duck came into the garden with a broken leg. Dad ended up catching the duck and putting a splint on her leg, she stayed in the garden for about a month and we took the splint off and the leg was alright again.

“She flew off and returned to the wild and it was just amazing to be a part of.

“The next year she came back, and within that time we’d built a pond, she made a nest on the pond and had her babies there. It was such a feel-good moment, fast forward to next year the mum and daughter came back and both had a nest of the pond.”


James explained that mother ducks will always come back to roughly where they are born, which was James’ parents’ garden and, lucky for them, the garden had been upgraded and a full duck house set up, wonderfully named ‘Duckingham Palace’.


James became a River Warden for Canterbury and through calls from the community, the RSPCA and a host of different charities, he has raised and rehabilitated and released almost 200 ducks. James is currently working part-time as a Joiner and Tree Surgeon but is currently searching for a job working with wildlife, birds or fauna along the river, and with years of experience behind him we know he would be a great asset to take aboard.


If you know of any relevant positions available, please email James Cosgrove at [email protected].

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