Warning over low flying swans and crashing swans

Motorists are being asked to keep an eye out for low flying swans and swans wandering around roads.

East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service is urging motorists to take care and keep an eye out for swans on our roads.

“At this time of year juvenile swans are being pushed away by their parents who are starting to think about next year’s nest and young. Unfortunately juvenile swans are not brilliant at flying because of being so young and inexperienced. As a result they often crash land, misjudge distances and wind speed resulting in them crashing before their intended destination. Some swans are being forced to walk away from ponds and lakes by their parents chasing them away, meaning they walk out onto roads.” said WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.

WRAS has been to a number of incidents recently including one this morning at 8:30am when a young swan was found wandering along a road on the Pevensey Levels near Normans Bay.  “The swan was sat in the middle of the road and probably been caught out by the wind or turbulence and crashed” said On-Call Rescue Co-ordinator Chris Riddington from Eastbourne who attended.  The swan was taken to the non-territorial flock of swans at Princes Park Eastbourne and released.

On Wednesday (22nd November) WRAS was called to a mature swan which crashed at Five Acre Field in Eastbourne too. There have recently been other calls around Eastbourne’s Princes Park Lake and Hampden Park’s Decoy Pond in addition to other calls to swans on Lottbridge Drove and Sevenoaks Road Eastbourne, the Golden Jubliee Way Eastbourne the A27 near Alfriston.

“People used to think swans crashed on roads thinking they are rivers, but often it is because of other factors, like experience and turbulence. Some areas like Lottbridge Drove and Princes Park areas suffer a lot from turbulence affecting the flight of the swans” said Trevor.

“You will also notice at parks that swans are fighting. Parents having a go at this years youngsters and chasing off any adults which fly in. Generally they sort themselves out, but if concerned don’t hesitate to call” said Trevor.

WRAS is advising people who come across crashed swans: “Report the swan as soon as possible to your local wildlife rescue.  If a road hazard you can also call the police.  Please don’t just walk them to water. Often crashed swans will break their breast bone or have other internal injuries which won’t be visible and could be fatal if not treated. If possible walk the swan into a front garden or off the road and wait for your local wildlife rescue to attend” said Trevor Weeks.

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