We need to protect our wonderful swans

October 29 2020
We need to protect our wonderful swans

News from the Friends of Eastville Park

WE will all have at some time stood and looked in awe and wonder as a swan glides effortlessly over the water, the perfect line of its arched neck and the white purity of its feathers a symbol of gentleness and striking beauty. Or we may hear the thunder of its wings and watch the frantic paddling of feet, as it hauls itself off the surface in search of flight and wonder how on earth it has the strength to rise above the water.

It has a few tricks up its sleeve to make this possible: lots of the bones are hollow, to compensate for the weight of huge chest muscles to power the wings. They also have unique one-way airflow system through their lungs and denser lung tissue than ours, that dramatically increases the oxygen supply to the muscles, to enable flight. The swan is warm-blooded with a core temperature of around 40 degrees and this increases the power of the muscles and increases the bird's reflexes by up to two times, as the signals down the nerve fibres travel that much faster.

At Eastville Park, we are blessed with a colony of around 12 swans at the moment – six adults and six youngsters, which were born here and seem quite happy to rest along the pathway or loiter around the edge of the lake in the hope of being fed treats by passers-by. As fast as a swans’ reflexes might be, they can sometimes appear complacent and maybe oblivious to the threats to their well-being!

The recent tragic incident of a dog attacking one of the cygnets has brought the whole park community together to look at how we can best prevent further cases of injury and, as in this case, the death of the bird.

While we will always respond and take whatever action is necessary to have any injured bird treated, we would much rather look at ways to encourage dog owners who walk near the lake to keep them on leads, to reduce the risk of over-excited or aggressive dogs attacking the swans. We are about to launch a poster campaign around the park in the hope that making people aware of the dangers will encourage them to help us to protect these wonderful birds in the future.

While we’re talking about the park's wild birds, here's 'Larry's List' of residents and visitors seen around the park over the last couple of weeks. Some are expected and some may come as a bit of a surprise, but an incredible roll-call all the same – and if anyone’s going to spot them, it’s Larry:

Sparrowhawk, mute swan, mallard, cormorant, grey heron, coot, moorhen, herring gull, black-headed gull, wood pigeon, stock dove, feral pigeon, tawny owl, kingfisher, great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker, carrion crow, jackdaw, jay, magpie, dunnock, wren, great tit, blue tit, coal tit, long-tailed tit, starling, goldcrest, nuthatch, robin, song thrush, redwing, blackbird, pied wagtail, grey wagtail, house sparrow, greenfinch, goldfinch, chaffinch.

If you’re not already aware, Friends of Eastville Park have secured funding for updating the upper park play area and are gathering feedback from children age 8-16 on what equipment should be built.


Follow the survey monkey link to have your say:www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KVSYBQJ

The Parkie