Swans Movement - And when to worry
At this time of year the cygnets are well grown and able to fly, so either of their own accord or with encouragement from their parents, they will leave the place in which they were reared for pastures new. Generally they will join a flock of other non breeding swans of assorted age on a large lake or river. However, on the way they often run into trouble. Examples would be; landing on a wet road believing it to be water or crashing into power lines or other obstacles, resulting in them coming down onto the ground , or even just coming down in a field for a bite to eat and a rest.
(Credit YAWS JH - St Ives Coppice pond swan family 2017)
If they are found on a road they need to be gently shepherded to a safe place like a garden or quiet side road and help called for from Animal Rescuers. It would be useful for the Rescuers to be advised of the exact location and also if there are any obvious injuries to the bird.
If, a young swan is seen alone in a field and it is possible to get near to it a check for obvious injuries like limping, drooping wing/s or signs of bleeding would be a good idea. If it seems unhurt then it may well continue its journey in a short while. If it is still in the same location in a day or two then it needs to be investigated further so please call for help.
Another danger for swans at this time of year and for the next few months is territorial disputes as 3 and 4 year old swans start to pair up and look for a breeding territory for next spring. If they stray onto an area where there is already a pair in residence the battles, if one pair doesn’t decide to leave the are, can be very fierce and injuiries may occur which could potentially require treatment.
In any of these situations the number and colour of the large Darvic ring can be of great help in identifying where the swan is from, it’s age and gender.
A swan may have two rings on a large coloured plastic ring - called a Darvic ring that are typically used to ID individual swans, and a metal BTO was used for research of swan movements.
(#information credit Judy Hogg YAWS Member.)