Bradley Stoke Nature Reserve swan found injured

Injured swan at the Three Brooks Lake, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

The female swan from the Three Brooks Nature Reserve lake was today found in distress by a dog walker, who thought the swan may have a broken leg. The RSPCA were called and were met at the lake by two committee members from the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group (TBNCG), Sara Messenger and Gill Smith.

The hen was, fortunately, not on her island nest or in the water but on the bank being protected by her mate. Alan, from the RSPCA checked the bird over and although a broken leg was ruled out the bird was very weak and was struggling to stand and he made the decision to take the bird to the RSPCA clinic in Bristol. Although no injury was found the bird was obviously in need of treatment and has been placed on a drip, it is hoped that she will improve in a few days, if not she will be sent to specialist centre West Hatch in Taunton for further treatment.

The swans have had mixed fortunes after making Bradley Stoke their home. Last year the pair had eggs broken, were harassed by dogs, shot at by two boys with an air rifle and (with the help of another local resident), survived the attentions of three men with a large hold-all. Although they hatched five chicks, they all got caught in the weir and although dog walker Michael braved the cob and got all five out, only two survived.

To give the swans the best possible chance this year, the TBNCG spent Saturday 11th February moving the swans’ nest from the bank over to the island. Ducks and swans, unlike other birds, cannot carry anything in their beaks, so they nest by pulling nesting material into a pile. To deter the pair from using their old nesting site, the group cut down all the reeds by the lake and transported them over to the island by kayak where four triangular nests were made. TBNCG’s ‘Bird Boy’ Rob Williams reported a month later that they had been successful and that the swans were now nesting on the island.

Read more about today’s events more on the Three Brooks Blog.

Related links:

Source: Press release by the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group

Swan tends eggs in nest at Three Brooks lake, Bradley Stoke.

Photo: The female swan tends five eggs at her nest in April 2011.

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  1. Message on the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Facebook page tonight:

    “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but our swan had deteriorated further overnight and they thought it would be kinder to end her suffering. I asked if they would do a post mortem but he said that they can’t afford to do them.”

  2. How terribly sad. I hope this wasn’t as a result of someone letting their dog off the lead in a nature reserve. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen on numerous occasions down by the lake,

  3. From the Three Brooks Birding Blog:

    “The male has not returned to the nest, so there will be no cygnets this year.”

    “Hopefully the cob will find a new mate for next year.”

  4. Hi Bert, The RSPCA think she might have ‘ingested’ something she shouldn’t have but dogs are one of the reasons we moved the nest for her.

  5. So sad to hear of the death of female swan. I found her on the bank at 9oclock on Thursday unable to stand. Immediately rang the RSPCA. I stayed with her for 2 and half hours accompanied by the male swan. He seemed to understand i was helping. But i was unable to stay and another lady with a dog said she would stay for a while. On way back i came across the conservation group and told them and they said they would go up and see. So grateful they were there to oversee when the RSPCA came. I am going each morning to feed the cob some seed. Dont know how long he will stay.
    PS- I am not a dog walker but a wild life lover who litter picks every day to help the wild life.

  6. I have just come back from the lake to see and feed the male swan he was over where the female had been. Seems to spend a lot of time over in that area but came over when he saw me. A woman came along with her dog and let it go in after the swan. I asked her to keep her dog under control and she said no. So I refered her to the notice regarding the drama that has happened and asked her to read it and she repeated no. All the time her dog was worrying the swan and she was saying good dog. I was so incensed with her attitude and felt it was my fault encouraging the cob over. He has enough to contend with at the moment having lost his mate. This behaviour is happening almost on a daily basis and when challenged they are often rude to you. I dont know what the answer is.They take no notice of signs either.

  7. I think it’s so sad that the female swan has died but as the RSPCA have stated they are not certain as to what caused her death. I walk my large dog on a regular basis around the Three Brooks Nature Reserve and we both enjoy stopping for a few minutes at the lake to look at the ducks and swans. I consider myself to be a responsible dog owner and would not allow my dog to worry or harm the wildlife, so please do not think that all of us dog walkers are so irresponsible. We are lucky that living in Bradley Stoke that we have such a nice area in which to exercise our dogs and I’m sure the majority of us dog walkers appreciate and respect this.

  8. I walked past last night and wondered why there was only one swan – very sad.

    So many people let their dogs in the water to chase the ducks, appears they enjoy it as much as their dogs, perhaps they should get a ball for their pet instead! Don’ know why anyone would want to let their dog in there anyway when there are rats known to be in there!

  9. Nothing wrong with sitting on the bench with your dog on a lead, looking at the ducks, noticed today there is now signs about the swan incident and not feeding the ducks because of the rats, maybe some signs for no swimming allowed for the dogs may help, luckily my dog hates water but wouldn’t allow her in there anyway….very sad about the swan, hopefully the remaining swan will find a new mate eventually.

  10. This is very sad news to hear the swan has been put to sleep.
    I walk my dog to the lake, she gets very excited when she sees the swans and ducks, but under no circumstances would I allow her in any way make the swans or ducks feel threatened by her presence.
    This is the general behavior I witness from other dog walkers.

  11. This morning it was reported to me as I walked the lake to see the male swan. That he had flown at 10-30 yesterday morning. I am sad but hopefully he will find a mate. The person who saw it go regulary walks her dog and they both watched as it took off. She said apart from her there wasnt anyone around. Be safe swan and come back with a mate.

  12. Thank you Sarah. I went to lake forthwith and sure enough there were swans brilliant. Stayed an hour in that time they have both checked out the nesting sites. Dont know if they will breed this year. Its been a good day and I will remember it well as today is my birthday. Best present ever.

  13. Thank you for everything Liz and your litter picking on the reserve which I know is a never ending job :0( & hope you had a good birthday!

  14. Liz-I’m glad that made your Birthday even better 🙂

    I could see that the female was busy investigating, fingers crossed as it would not be the same without the swans. The majority of people enjoy and respect the nature reserve, I certainly love having it on my doorstep.

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