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Rescued out of the road, but all is not happy at Harold Park.



Keep reading to find out why?

Bradford Harold Park (468)

10th - 11th September 2017

A female Swan rescued, found wandering on a Bradford main road gets released back with her family, but the release uncovers a potentially frosty relationship, and a less than loving reunion between her and the Cob(male).

What ever could have gone wrong Yorkshire animal welfare society investigates.

Last night 10/09/17 Yorkshire Animal Welfare Society Welfare officer Stephen got a call from a lady outside a veterinary centre in Bradford city centre, the caller was very upset and clutching an adult mute swan, Our largest bird living wild in the UK currently.

The lovely lady called Julie had kindly stopped and rescued the grounded swan from danger as the swan was wandering down the middle of the main road in the busy city. Doing what she thought the correct thing to do, she rush's the potentially injured stricken bird to the nearest open vet.


Julie then was very upset when she arrives at the reception of said vet, to be told they would not even look at the bird and in fact if they did look at it and it was injured, they weren't willing to treat and would just destroy the bird(as of yet they haven't been contacted about this incident but we intend to write to the practice management to get them to investigate).

Shocked and upset by the treatment they had just received together with the complete lack of compassion and a disregard for an animal's health and welfare by such a well known vets that, lets face it meant to care for animals.

Julie rang YAWS Welfare officer Stephen, who jumped into action and advised the upset lady to bring the swan to him in Allerton, when he contacted James another YAWS volunteer for help and transferred the swan for assessment to one of our wildlife hospitals in Queensbury, Bradford.

(pic above 648 Arrival at YAWS with James)

We straight away contacted Judy another of YAWS volunteers Judy but she primarily Volunteers for the Yorkshire Swan Rescue nr York, 'Yorkshire swan rescue is the great team that every year rings all of our swans in the Yorkshire area so they hold lists and locations of birds that they have rung or deal with regularly'.

and with the information given from on the Darvic ring on the swan's leg(large plastic coloured ring).

Judy knew straight away that yellow 468 was a known female paired up with red 222Y and both live and have Cygnets(swan youngsters) at Harold Park on Cemetary Road in Bradford.

The Pair that have been Paired up together for two years and holding the territory at Harold park since 2015 when the male 222Y's mate died suddenly of an unknown cause and was found floating at nearby Park Dam.

This is the second clutch the pair have successfully reared at Harold Park and both are great committed parents.


The female Swan 468 from Harold was picked up not far from the park and, we were really unsure if or how injured she was and why she decided to leave her family, and end up coming down in a completely unsuitable spot for an experienced healthy adult swan and she definitely was in need of assistance from Julie.


When Stephen arrived with 468 she was thoroughly checked over by James and apart from a cut on her bill (beak) and slight cut on her knob/berry (the black round protrusion at the base of a mute swan's bill.

(Pic above showing Swan's black protrusion called a knob or berry)

The lovely, healthy female swan just fully moulted, an adult female swan in peak condition appeared unharmed and she was very bright, and constantly scanning her environment quietly taking in everything that was going on around her.

We checked all the usual places we've found injuries in the past, that are common from land crash landings.

The adult swan is a very heavy bird to be flying weighing in at 10+KG and aren't designed to land on solid ground with any grace, and they can quite easily injure their soft feet feet and wing tips when crashing on the land, but 468 was completely clear of all these.

So why has she been found wandering in the road not far from her family?


We needed to find out before releasing the swan back that wouldn't be in her best interests, we discuss 648 with our Judy and YSR Volunteer who far more experienced with swans and their behaviour than anyone in YAWS.

The decision was taken to provide the female swan with supportive care fluids to counteract any shock and antibiotics for her cuts, then bed her down for the night to monitor her and to keep her warm, still and quiet just over night to help counteract any shock she may be suffering.

we then planned to meet at Harold park and release her the following morning.

Monday the 11th of September comes......


We set off after checking the female swan over again and meet Judy, Pam and Phil, three volunteers from the Yorkshire Swan Rescue down at Harold park lakeside, it was nice to find her mate 222Y and cygnets all well and happily being fed by other park users, on our arrival 468 knew exactly where she was and she started vocalising and being restless in the car.

Once the volunteers from Yorkshire swan rescue just double checked nothing was missed by us Judy released the female back with her family.


(Pic above Judy checking Female 648 before release) But all was not well between the adults(see the video below) and almost straight away it was evident something had happened with the male and 648, whilst they didn't show any aggression towards one another, the initial meeting was a little frosty and the pair showed none of the usual head bobbing that swans usually perform when they greet one another to reaffirm their bond to one another.

While we observed the male making a halfheartedly attempt at a head bob, 468 quickly shunned his advances and unceremoniously swims off to the centre of the lake away from the male and family and starts vigorously washing herself, leaving her older cygnets not knowing what to do, as they just started floating in between the two adults looking put out and the pair by now almost at the opposite ends of the lake.


(Video above the release of Pen Swan 648 back at Harold park 11th September 2017)

What on earth could have gone wrong with this normally loving couple (info from Judy YSR) now lets not worry about the cygnets as they are almost fully grown and nearly independent of the parents and it won't be long before they are driven off to find their own way in the world? or join a non breeding group for the winter.


After a little while of testing the situation, the babies approach mum who is still frantically washing off the smells associated with her rescue and confinement, when she then stops washing and greets her cygnets, she then decides to swim back and directly approaches the Male, who is looking a little put out, now whilst no real greeting was seen again which a big indication that the male is on the naughty step, and she was still a little on edge around 222Y with her upward wings in the up position the pair again didn't show any aggression, but also showed no affection,

(Pic above, Mum 648 - with her Cygnets cautiously approach see how far behind the babies are)

The guys from Yorkshire Swan Rescue advised that the same thing happened and at the same time last year, when the naughty male was caught mating with 690 a swan from a nearby lake, this caused 648 to leave Harold and pay 690 a visit at her lake, but the resident pair set upon 648 and duffed her up.

This saw her returning back bruised and battered back to 222Y the male at Harold, who after she had recovered from her kicking and after 222Y's illicit liaison is fully forgiven, the pair now back fully bonded up.

Goes on the attack and manages to drive off 690 and her mate off of their territory, and finally all calm descends for the Harold pair and they stay at Harold park in love all winter, well until now?

This cant of happened to poor 648 again naughty 222Y sleeping around leaving 648 a smallish swan with a gentle nature fighting for her man, but is this time a step too far.

Now whilst we can not say for definite that the same has happened and red 222Y is on the naughty step once again, but their body language and her injuries are consistent with this, now the pair have only been together two years, and in such a long lived bird like a swan it isn't long really seeing that oldest swan has been recorded at 15 years.

What will the future hold for this pair?


We left the guys of Yorkshire Swan Rescue monitoring the situation and seeing as to whether 648 would stay put and not take off again so they waited until the early afternoon.

Judy messaged us later and updated us and said the relationship hadn't improved much, but they would return later in the day to see how the family were getting on, and if she did in fact leave Harold Park again and is picked up again needing assistance. This would indicate a serious marriage breakdown and the relationship will have broken down.

The Yorkshire Swan Rescue volunteers will closely be monitoring this situation, and if required will make sure 648 is cared for and will see about putting her into a mixed non-territorial flock and given the opportunity to pair up with another compatible mate.

as 'YSR says she is a brilliant mum and it would be a shame to lose her from the area'


so if you are going out this weekend, why not pop along with some tasty treats(no bread please) to Harold Park and see for yourselves how they family is getting on, and keep an eye on Red 222Y if he's not with 648 he is having an illicit liaison and we would be interested to know who he is fraternising with plus make sure you get the ring information off the large plastic ring(darvic).

please contact us here if you come across an animal in distress visit our website y clicking on the YAWS logo below to request help ........


#Muteswan #heaviestbird #waterbirds #swanawareness #YorkshireSwanRescue #wildbird #wildlife #wildliferescue

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