Fringe Box



Updated: Swan Watchers Saddened By Unexplained Cygnet Deaths

Published on: 23 May, 2019
Updated on: 3 Mar, 2020

A small crowd of concerned onlookers observe the swans.

Story and photos by Chris Jewers

Swan watchers at the back of the Yvonne Arnaud theatre in Guildford’s Wey Navigation were saddened today (May 23) to find six of the nine swan cygnets that have caused a minor sensation on social media have perished in their nest. The cause is not yet known.

One of the swans being picked up from its nest site.

Concerned local residents contacted the RSPCA and the Swan Sanctuary, based in Shepperton. Both organisations worked together to round up the swans and their remaining cygnets and took them to the sanctuary.

The vehicle from a swan sanctuary.

Some people said rats were the likely culprits, others said the cygnets may have been poisoned. One resident said a pigeon had recently been found behind the theatre on Millmead lock with serious wounds caused by scissors. “Someone cut the wings and tail feathers of the pigeon and threw it into the water,” she added. The bird has recovered in Hydestile Wildlife Hospital.

Many at the scene speculated that the same person could have targeted the cygnets.

One of the fortunate surviving cygnets.

The cygnets and two adult swans were in the nest which has been protected by netting for the past few months. Signs were also put up by Guildford Borough Council requesting that the nest be left in peace.

A notice posted by GBC warning the public not to feed the swans with unsuitable food.

Mrs Roberts wrote on Facebook: “It is unclear what happened to the other babies but suffice to say it would be too upsetting to post pics.” Later, the resident who had earlier spoken to The Dragon contacted us to say: “The Swan Sanctuary has just called to say all three babies are running around looking well.

“They have X-rayed the poor deceased and there were no signs of physical injury so we may never know what the cause was. But at least we know all are in safe capable hands.”

The cob and pen, normally life-long partners, about to be driven away.

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Responses to Updated: Swan Watchers Saddened By Unexplained Cygnet Deaths

  1. Vivienne Cracknell Reply

    May 28, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    I took a video of the signets to show my granddaughter on Tuesday 14th. In the short video two rats run out from behind the nest. I know rats can kill. And they often leave the skins.

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