Feisty swan retrieved from the Royal Border Bridge

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Last week I wrote while Kay and Jamie had gone off to pick up a swan that had come down on the railway bridge.

When Kay and Jamie arrived at the end of the bridge Network Rail staff had already ushered the swan off the bridge but the bird had panicked and tried to escape down the embankment. It was a steep slope at this point so there was nothing for it but follow the swan down.

Kay told me that the Network Rail staff members were extremely helpful and she asked me to convey her thanks to them all.

It was quite a trek but Jamie was a bit quicker than Kay and he managed to grab the bird to hold it down while Kay wielded the swan bag. It was then the long walk back. Thankfully the men took turns to carry the swan back to the car.

When the swan was booked in to the David Rollo Centre it weighed in at well over 11kg! We checked the bird over luckily it only has a few grazes and superficial scratches. It was a very bad tempered bird, I suppose it had lost some ‘river cred’ by getting itself stuck on the railway. We gave it a pen undercover with a bucket of food and one of grass cuttings. When we shut the swan in behind the gates which are about 1 metre high it reared up and showed us a very malevolent head and neck above the gates. We only needed to keep the swan for a couple of days just to make sure it suffered no after effects from its accident. It took two of us to hold it when it was bagged up to be released but it was very keen to be back on the river.

One of the swans we have had in for several weeks has a large lump on its middle toe. It was treated with painkiller and antibiotics in the hope that would deal with the swelling. When this was not successful the foot was x-rayed and the lump proved to be a bone infection which would spread up the leg if not treated.

The vet operated on Friday and removed the bone from the toe, stitching the skin together so that the two outer toes would be webbed with the middle toe minus the bone. When the swan came back it sported a lovely blue bandaged foot. The next day the bandage was removed.

We have to keep the foot clean and dry, a bit of a job where swans are concerned, but the bird is now in an undercover pen and is able to use the foot. It is early days but thanks to the good surgery of the vet we hope she will soon be able to join the other swans on the pond.

We have a couple of cygnets that are almost ready for release but we shall wait for some calm weather. They can go with the swan that had an awful wound to its head. This has now completely healed and I’m sure the bird will be glad to get back where it belongs with a couple of friends to go with.

We have our two Mallard ducklings ready for release their flight feathers grown in, nice fit birds. They enjoy diving under the water and tipping up showing their tails. As all ducks they love playing in the mud.