Swan lovers reponsible for death

Published: Thursday, 10 August 2017

AT THE risk of upsetting swan lovers, they are really the people responsible for the death of that swan caught in a boat's propeller, writes Helen Cripps.

They feed swans and their signets as they cruise along, actively encouraging the birds, that of course lay in wait for any passing boat, and the RSPCA is wrong in stating it is the boaters' fault, it is the fault of those that encourage them.

It is not only swans that get killed, though of course they get the publicity, but how often have you brought your boat into a mooring to discover there are ducks and their young between you and the bank ready to be crushed to death? 

Sawns following boatAdvice from the RSPB

Here is the advice concerning the feeding of both swans and ducks from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds:

Bread, chips, crackers, cereal and sweets have little nutritional value, while mouldy food can be very harmful to swans' and ducks' health.

There is a risk that swans and ducks and other waterfowl can get an illness known as angel wing, which is caused by not getting the right nutrients in their diet. The illness causes a deformity in birds’ wings that can hamper the way they fly or even stop them altogether, which could obviously be fatal.

Uneaten, rotting food left by swans and ducks can trigger noxious odours and fuel algae that can eventually eradicate fish from the area, as well as attracting rats, mice and insects.

Mouldy bread can also cause aspergillosis a fatal lung infection that can wipe out waterfowl in flocks.

Clear advice

I think the advice is clear—you are not doing either swans or ducks any favours by feeding them bread and the like, and are in fact doing them harm, as well as encouraging them to swarm around moving boats at a risk to their lives.