Grave concerns raised about swans nesting early in Stratford - The Leamington Observer

Grave concerns raised about swans nesting early in Stratford

Leamington Editorial 25th Mar, 2024   0

GRAVE concerns have been raised over swans nesting early in Stratford.

The town’s swan rescuer Cyril Bennis has spotted a mute swan already nesting on a clutch of eight eggs on the banks of the River Avon.

And while the prospect of cygnets is usually a joyous one, heralding the start of spring, the former town mayor expressed concerns it revealed the potentially fatal effect climate change was having on wildlife behaviour.

He explained that this swan was laying eggs four weeks earlier than it should be as a result of the recent mild weather.

Mr Bennis told the Observer: “Spring seems to have sprung, with this swan already having nested and laid eight eggs. However, this is four weeks earlier than normal. This means these eggs will hatch at the beginning of May, not at the end as they used to.

“Worryingly, this trend has been noticed here in Stratford and at other areas in the UK. Climate change is affecting wildlife behaviour, as the birds respond to earlier warmer weather patterns.

“The future is uncertain regarding the behaviour, and survival, of wildlife.”

Mr Bennis’ concerns are backed by a recent study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology which used hundred-year-old museum collections to help show that birds are nesting earlier in the spring.

By comparing recent observations with century-old eggs preserved in museums, scientists were able to determine that about a third of bird species have moved their egg-laying up by an average of 25 days. And as far as the researchers can tell, the culprit in this shift is climate change.

The British Trust for Ornithology warned that the danger of birds laying their eggs early was that the egg hatching could become unsynchronised with food supplies, jeopardising the survival rate of the juvenile birds.

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