Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

Buy from Bridge House Publishing by clicking on the link BUY:


Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Dangers to Swans

British swans have few natural enemies. After all, they are protected by our royal family. Completely wild swans are often referred to as Royal swans and in fact only the royal family are allowed to kill and eat them. I believe, though, the current royal family does not do that.
Swans are big birds and can fend for themselves. They will attack humans and dogs if threatened. They also hiss which can make them sound very aggressive. They could certainly cause a substantial injury to a human though whether they would actually break a man’s arm as is often rumoured is a little doubtful. Certainly we would usually rather not try to find out. A cob raised up on its legs, hissing and flapping its wings can seem quite threatening.
Because swans now often live quite close to humans they can be threatened by human activity. Power lines can be a problem, especially if they are near water. Migrating swans will often not see them and a whole flock can crash into them. Power companies could help – in fact they could help all birds – by putting plastic discs on to the power lines.
Some of the most common injuries to swans are caused by discarded fish hooks. Swans forage on river beds for their food so a hook and line can easily be swallowed or get caught in their mouth or around their beak. This can prevent them from being able to feed and can cause infection which can also lead to death.
There is always a problem with vandalism, such as people throwing stones or firing air rifles at the birds, destroying their nests or stealing their eggs. Sometimes the adult swans are killed so that the cygnets can be stolen, but most times the attacks are completely mindless. Some canny swans learn to nest where the humans can’t get to them. The Outwood swans have had their fair share of disasters and they finally raised five cygnets last summer when they tucked their nest away in a spot where no human could possibly walk. Often one of the dogs will make a big fuss about the swans – who either ignore them completely or hiss just enough to send the dogs away with their tails between their legs.
One of the biggest threats remains pollution, whether industrial or domestic. Oil toxicosis is caused by spillage of petroleum products and is not easy to treat. Industrial effluent can get into rivers and into the water lands where the swans make their home. This is obviously a threat to all wildlife.
Humans, especially little ones, love to feed the swans and white bread can be nutritious and good for them especially in cold weather. Most swans are very wise and know not to overfeed. However, mouldy bread is a different matter and we should resist the temptation to take our stale bread to the swans. It can cause the irritating “pink flamingo feather syndrome”. This means the feathers stop being waterproof. But mouldy bread can also make the swans very ill in other ways and can cause death. In the end, it’s probably better to let the swans feed naturally.


  1. Some very interesting posts, I didn't realise that the life of swans could be so complex. Homosexuality, divorce - what next? I bet you feel like standing guard down by the lake to protect the cygnets from vandals!

  2. Some interesting info! Bet a lot of people don't realise about the feeding habits and threats, especially the bread.