Networking volunteers organise crossing guard for cygnets in Bishop’s Waltham

This is a beautiful little story about the animal-to-human relationship. It is a very positive one which warms my heart. My heart needs warming at the moment because there are far too many disastrous stories circulating among news media outlets on the Internet and in hard copies about the misdeeds and foolishness of humankind. I am referencing the wars in Israel and Ukraine as two good examples.

Volunteers protect swans and their cygnets when crossing a busy road in Bishop's Waltham, Hampshire, UK
Volunteers protect swans and their cygnets when crossing a busy road in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire, UK. Pictures: Chrissy Sturt.

In Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire, UK, there are two ponds separated by a busy road which is next to a busy roundabout. And in those ponds, there are swans and their offspring (cygnets). They like to waddle across the road from one pond to the other. This is dangerous.

A couple of cygnets were killed and a third was injured by road traffic. In fact, two cygnets were injured one of which is recovering and the other had to be euthanised.

As a consequence, Sue Eyles, a retired NHS office manager, set up a network of volunteers five weeks ago. She said: “I thought, I will bring a high-viz [vest] and I will see them across the road.”

This was the beginning of a network of a dozen volunteers who help the cygnets cross the road. One of the volunteers is Christine Trigg, 59, who said: “The main reason we are doing this is because of the swans that died. One died and the other was so badly injured the RSPCA had to euthanise it.”

They communicate using WhatsApp and allocate shifts through this app. This allows them to monitor the family of two adults swans and five cygnets as closely as possible.

They say that most road traffic users are sympathetic when they are held up by the ladies and gentlemen acting as crossing guards for the swans. They say that the lorry drivers are the most sympathetic but there are some badly behaved individuals who dislike it and on one occasion a driver threw something at Sue Eyles. She does not know what it was. She said: “Somebody threw something out their car window at me. I’m not too sure what it was. But you do also get people who say ‘brilliant job'”.

People are generally positive. Deane Bevan, a 66-year-old retired carer who does the early shift from 7 AM to 9 AM said that the swans don’t have any road sense and they eat grass on the verges. A dangerous habit. Their job, he said, is to slow down traffic “just in case”.

He added that “Mostly the motorists are very good. You get the occasional idiot. The best ones are truck drivers because it’s a big vehicle, and they are pretty responsible if you ask them to slow down. Truckers do react very well.”

This network of lollipop men and women devoted to protecting swans will carry on doing their work until the cygnets have grown up and become independent at 10 months of age (they are currently five months of age). And when this year’s work is done, they will restart next spring to watch over the next generation.

A story about swans that is the polar opposite:

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Birds