Become a Rescuer
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT RESCUING SWANS?
Not all rescues are as daunting as this and the good news is that some members of the emergency services have come to us for training in swan handling.
It is difficult to anticipate the situations that arise, different times of the year bring their own problems. In the Spring there are territorial disputes and instances of parents chasing away their cygnets so that they can start a new family. Once the cygnets hatch they can become separated from their parents by boats or by being swept over weirs. The summer holidays bring the re-start of the fishing season and outdoor activities. Fishing tackle, litter, plastic can holders and polythene bags play their part. In hot weather botulism can also be a factor.
The windy weather in autumn and new feathers after the moult or just learner flyers provide crash landings - sometimes in the oddest places.
The short days of the winter also bring disputes with some swans chasing their cygnets away or just trying to establish a territory.
Once rescuers have gained some experience some minor problems can be dealt with on site saving the stress for the swan of being transported to Cuckoo Weir for treatment. Members of the public are often distressed at the sight of a swan hook being used but sometimes this is the only option. If a swan can be encouraged to come in to feed a pole can often be dispensed with. The birds are secured with bandages / and or a swan wrap for transit to the Island - a washable waterproof bag is also used to protect a vehicle and to ensure that the bird cannot injure itself of for that matter the car driver.
Whilst we do not recommend anyone attempts to rescue a swan without training it is a fact that anyone who observes a swan or swans on a daily basis is often best placed to notice a change indicating a possible problem. Swans do recognise people they see regularly, whether this is visual or by sound, they will often acknowledge their presence with a bobbing or dipping head gesture.
Rescuer Dave Hattersly with some of the girls from the Sue Robinson school of ballet