A Bewick's swan cygnet appears to have been left behind at Slimbridge Wetland Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire by its migrating parents.
Bewick’s swans migrate in large family groups and due to recent mild weather all but ten of the Slimbridge flock have departed already. On Thursday WWT researcher Julia Newth, who recognises the hundreds of swans in the flock by their individual face markings, saw that the one remaining family had acquired an additional youngster.
The lone cygnet (left) with adopted siblings.
The lone cygnet has latched onto Slimbridge regulars Wooton and Stinchcombe and their four cygnets, but is spending much of its time calling in the hope of being reunited with its own parents.
Ms Newth said:
“Occasionally, cygnets become separated from their parents during migration when there is perhaps bad weather but it is rather more unusual to see such a separation before the journey has begun.
“Visitors to Slimbridge are really taking the cygnet to their hearts and we’re all waiting to see whether the parents return…
If they don’t, and it leaves with its adopted family, we will call on our extensive network of swan researchers along the 2,500 mile journey to Russia to keep an eye out for them and check whether the lone cygnet manages to stay with them.”