On Sunday this week we were due to weigh the cygnets and to give them a health check to make sure they are in good condition.
It was freezing cold and as always when we do this job they were all in the water and would be very wet to pick up.
We got them moved onto the grass and filled their feed buckets (by then our hands were quite blue) so we thought we would leave them to dry out a bit before we attempted to lift them to the scales.
Before we could get started however, we had a phone call about an injured cygnet on the Kelso Road, by Coldstream.
We agreed that the weighing and checking could be done another time and set off with swan bag to deal with the casualty. Our informant said he thought the bird had probably been hit by a car as there were a lot of feathers about. It was sitting on the verge but there was some blood about.
Fortunately Kay’s car has a good heater and my feet and hands soon warmed up. It was a lovely drive through the countryside and a bright sunshine making the frost sparkle, until we got near Coldstream when we were engulfed in fog.
We found the cygnet easily enough, the caller had given very precise directions, and a car with hazard lights on gave us an added clue.
Our bird had been found by someone else who was phoning for assistance as we pulled up. We soon had the bird bagged up.
It was able to stand and tried to make off but had little room to move against the fence. We brought it back to the Rollo Centre and weighed and examined the bird.
She had a couple of grazes on her wings where she had scraped them, these had bled a little and blood does seem to spread through feathers making an injury seem much worse.
She could stand but one leg had an old injury which had healed over leaving the bird’s leg and foot very swollen. We put her in a pen with food and water to give her time to recover from the shock.
We did notice that she was losing feathers as we examined her, which is quite unusual. We shall contact the vet to look her over and see what he thinks of the injured leg. I will let you know how she is getting on next week.
We have managed to get three of the swans onto the big pond with wobbly swan and the cygnets. These will make a nice family group to release together in the spring. The older birds will show the young ones, who know very little about life on the river, how to behave.
Dick took big bully swan to release during the few days calm weather we had. He is a big strong bird brought in when he hit cables but fortunately he suffered no burns, so after bossing all the others about we sent him on his way. He soon joined up with other swans on the river.
Tonight I am off to give a talk to the Inner Wheel, just another day as a volunteer.
Next time I hope to have some copy from other volunteers about how they help us.