Cygnets face up to harsh facts of life

Swan Notes
Swan Notes

This week I will catch up on all the swans and cygnets that have been with us recently.

All the cygnets that were raised last summer at the Rollo Centre are doing well. They are all a good size but not overweight and will be released in the spring when the weather improves and the river weed starts growing.

Three of these birds were hatched at the centre the others came in as very young lost or abandoned. They are now losing some of their brown feathers which are being replaced by lovely white ones.

They are enjoying the big pond with two adult birds that have made them part of their group. One of these adults had a toe amputated last year and is doing well. The other also had very sore feet but has improved greatly now.

Last month we had calls about several of last years cygnets that had been pushed out by their parents. We took in one from Ayton, one from Dunbar, and one from Eyemouth. All were weak and stressed.

It must be hard for these birds that have been protected by their parents for over eight months to suddenly be threatened and driven away by their parents.

The pair at Eyemouth have driven some of their cygnets off the water and onto the road. We had several calls about them.

We went out and took three of the cygnets that were in danger of being hit by vehicles, the remaining two had taken the hint and we think they must have left the area by themselves.

We try not to intervene as this is a perfectly normal process (although upsetting) but if the birds are in danger we will move them. We took the three we picked up together with their sibling and the other two young birds down to the Tweed. The photograph shows them bagged in the car ready to go.

We also took in two swans from Leazes Park Newcastle via the RSPCA. Both are old birds and were very weak. They are eating well and we home we can release them in the spring to give them another summer at any rate.

We had another elderly swan from Sunderland (again via RSPCA) that was with us as a cygnet. It is coming up for thirteen years old.

After a blood test it was confirmed that it had lead poisoning so it is now having to have treatment by injection each day.

Last week Kay went to pick up a swan from Coldstream Golf Club. It was covered in blood and looked a very sorry sight.

Because swans are white they always make a little blood look like a bloodbath.

When we cleaned him up a bit we could see that the blood had come from his head as there was a lot of dried blood under the feathers but we could find no wound.

A spray of water made him look a lot better and he enjoyed a good meal.

Wherever he hurt himself he seems okay now. He is currently in the small pond with the other recently admitted adult birds.