Ask the Swan Specialist

I found a lost cygnet - how to reunite it with its family
Date: 26 June 2014

Edit: this ended up turning into a novel, my apologies. I am from the UK but there doesn't seem to be many organisations here that I can contact. Short story is: Can anyone advise as I have found a possible lost cygnet to a swan family a couple of miles down the canal between Northwich and Middlewich, and would like to reunite it but no idea how.

I'm not too sure where to start with this but I guess I'm thinking I may be over-reacting and being a city girl for most of my life, perhaps I should just leave it be.

Recently moved to Northwich (In Cheshire or Northwest England) and living next to a canal. This was in December and there were a pair of swans who lived just over our garden fence. We'd feed them now and again, but then deciding to look into local wildlife didn't do as often so they didn't become dependent on us. Anyway, they left in February/March and reappeared again a few weeks ago with their cygnets.

We saw them about a month ago and I took a lot of photos, 'our swans', obviously beautiful creatures and no doubt feelings shared within the community. How we have been loving country life.

Anyway, yesterday I took a long walk along the Northwich canal. I passed 'our swans' and noticed one was missing but didn't think too much of it as could only see one parent and thought maybe it was with the other parent. I walked as far as about 2 or 3 miles heading towards a place called Middlewich. I walked right alongside the canal, saw the odd duck but hardly saw any compared to the amount of ducks that are around our neighbourhood and certainly saw no swans. Those two swans are the only ones I've seen around here and I have been doing a lot of walking as exploring the area.

I was passing some houseboats and got talking to one of the men who said I may not be able to pass further down the path as a family of swans and cygnets were sitting there. He was right and I took some photos before turning back around. Before I had reached the mother and her cygnets, the father was swimming in the canal. I took a lot of photos (keen photographer) and a couple of videos also. Yet when he turned up to join the mother ten minutes later, a cygnet was suddenly with him and I thought that was strange as hadn't seen it and I had been having a good look around at my new surroundings. On checking back on my recordings and photos, there is no cygnet to be seen. Anyway, the father got out and onto the path with the family, the little cygnet in the water tried to follow him out and couldn't and was swimming back and forth squeaking as if 'help me out' ! The family completely ignored it and all proceeded to go into the small lake on the other side of the path and left it behind. I was surprised at that but thought well at the end of the day they are wild birds and who am I to judge!

The cygnet got increasingly upset, swimming back and forth and crying out. They were only a few feet away from it but it obviously couldn't see them. I tried to help it but didn't want to touch it in case I made it more upset and then it ended up swimming far away from them and on my way past the man who I'd spoken to previously and said "any ideas on how to get that cygnet back to its family" and told him what had happened. He wasn't concerned in the least and replied "oh that's actually been on it's own for a few days now". "But I just saw it with the family" .. he replied that he thought it had been separated from it's previously family and probably had just latched on.

It's still so young though and surely vulnerable and I feel so upset about it. I googled last night "reunite cygnet" and top story was of yourself with the cygnet that you were able to rescue. I can see no similar swanneries in my area other than Swan research who I will try but I am hoping you can advise or put me in touch with someone near to my area. I have no idea how to catch it on my own and obviously that's presuming it belongs to the swans in Northwich, I can't actually know that. I will contact the RSPCA but thinking not serious enough for them?

I really hope you can at the very least advise me, if I can do this on my own, I would be happy to do that.

Many thanks


Messages In This Thread

I found a lost cygnet - how to reunite it with its family -- Claire -- 26 June 2014
Re: I found a lost cygnet - how to reunite it with its family -- The Regal Swan Foundation -- 26 June 2014