Ask the Swan Specialist

Mystery swan behavior
Date: 13 July 2016


I am from Middlesbrough United Kingdom and a pair of swans in the local lake have all us locals baffled. If you can picture a park with a large lake and a metal fence all the way around it and a wide tarmac footpath/cycle track going around the lake. On one side there are wooden ferries from where people fish. There is a large island in the middle of the lake and the swan usually lays its eggs there but this year it did not. The swan came over to the fence (lake side) and built a nest on the land available between the fence and the lake. It laid one egg and sat on it for a few days. It then left it and built a second nest about 30 feet away but laid nothing. It then built a third nest about 5 feet away and laid 7 eggs. The egg from the first nest disappeared. 9 weeks elapsed and the eggs had not hatched but she was still sat on them. Then 3 eggs disappeared during which time the second nest was being dismantled by the swans and its contents were been put on the third nest. A week later 3 more eggs disappeared and all the contents of the second nest were on the third nest. She remained on the last egg for one more week and then it disappeared from sight. The next day when we looked at the nest an egg was protruding slightly from it and the male swan was asleep next to the nest. The next day the egg was totally visible but the swans had left the large nest. The nests were built on the fishing side of the lake but today signs had been put on the fishing gates saying that fishing had been suspended for 7 days whilst they investigate why some of the fish were dying. I have lived here 33 years and I have never seen the fish so big and visible. The lake mainly has carp fish.

I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the swan’s behaviour regarding the nests and eggs and do you think the problem with the fish is involved in the eggs not hatching.

Best regards

Messages In This Thread

Mystery swan behavior -- Steve -- 13 July 2016
Re: Mystery swan behavior -- The Regal Swan -- 14 July 2016