19 September 2012

Swanderings abroad

Being large, white and usually occuring in large fields or water bodies, swans are an 'obvious' part of our countryside. In winter there can be large concentrations of birds, especially at WWT (Wildfowl & Wetland Trust) reserves, mainly comprising of the migratory Bewick's and Whooper Swans.
Our other swan species, the Mute Swan is seen in the UK all year round. Around 124,700 Mute Swans have been ringed in the UK and Ireland and from recoveries it's obvious that the majority of Mute Swans are sedentary. Once a bird finds a mate and a territory it remains faithful to the site and rarely moves more than 5km.

Mute Swan - Jill Pakenham

I received a phone call recently regarding a Mute Swan that had wandered into a John Deere tractor shed at Ringwood, Hampshire. It was very thin and in heavy moult so had to be taken into care but the signs are looking promising of a full recovery. Thankfully this bird was ringed and this ring hinted to its origins staight away. It was wearing a German ring from the Helgoland Ringing Scheme! It will be interesting to know when it was ringed, to see if the sea crossing had anything to do with its poor condition.

You will be used to seeing maps on the Demog blog but the BTO are now able to produce them on our 'recoveries summaries by species' online ringing reports section of our website. The map below is from the Mute Swan page which shows how special a German Mute Swan recovery is.

Mute Swan recoveries. Ringed in Britain or Ireland; Found in Britain or Ireland

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