Welcome to 9 cygnets

Lots of excitement at the canal this week.  The first cygnets of the year were spotted on Thursday by canal nature watchers Nilla Roberts and Mel Alllen.  Volunteer photographer, David Richardson made an early start on Friday and captured these beautiful photographs of the swan and cygnets including the eighth one hatching.  At the moment we have a total of nine cygnets on the canal.

Please come and see our new additions.  The fluffy bundles are irresistible and if you are lucky you may see them catching a ride on their mother’s back, warm and dry up above the water tucked in between her arched wings.  From there, they can watch the world go by and when it is all too much they can sleep.

The first few weeks of the cygnet’s life is really important as they have so much to learn.  The absorbed food from the egg yolk before hatching will last them 7 – 10 days  and then the cygnets feed themselves with some help from the parents.  To start with they will only dip their heads into the water very briefly to eat insects that are floating on the surface or on plants overhanging the canal.  The parents will also pull up plants from the canal floor and tramp the water stirring up food particles for the young to eat.  After a few weeks the cygnets will start to dive below for longer periods and pull up plants to eat.

If you listen carefully, you may hear the cygnets calling to their parents.  The first sounds are made whilst they are still inside the egg.  Once hatched the cygnets will make sounds to communicate.  A soft call is a contented happy call when the cygnet is warm and feeding or preening.  But a louder higher pitch call means that the cygnet feels cold or hungry and is upset.

The young cygnets will also need to swim well to and avoid predators if they are to survive the first few weeks.  Luckily, nature has given them very protective parents who will see off intruders.  At night the cygnets will sleep amongst their parents feathered wings keeping warm and safe.

Thank you to our customers and volunteer photographers for submitting photos.

Remember the cygnets may look fluffy and sweet but the adult swans will be very protective, so don’t go too close and please keep your dogs on leads when you are near them.

Post by Wendy Mahe, photos by David Richardson



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