Hope floats. Swans nests don’t, unless they get a little help from someone determined to make sure their precious cargo has a chance to hatch.
Rob Adamson, who lives and works at the Jones Boatyard in St Ives, England, has long been a bystander to the efforts of the world’s “most unfortunate swans” to become parents.
For a decade, he watched sadly as the eggs of the poor birds fell prey to the poaching of foxes and the rising waters. This year when the Great Ouse began to flood, he knew he couldn’t sit still and let another clutch perish during his watch.
“You’re not supposed to interfere, but it had gotten to the point where everyone was going to die,” Adamson told the BBC. “I couldn’t go to bed knowing that. I knew I would regret it if I did nothing to save them … I needed to make sure they survived. “
During the night, Adamson made a makeshift raft and tied it with a rope to the shore. It was well after dark that he cautiously lifted the nest and its occupants (nine eggs and a hissing mama) to safety, all under the wary gaze of papa swan.
As a breed, swans have a reputation for beauty that is second only to their fierce temperament. That neither of them attacked Adamson is unusual.
Perhaps the two of them felt that he was only trying to help, which would only maintain character, as Adamson’s affinity for majestic avians is already well established.
A few years ago, Adamson raised an orphaned swan named Sid. Although he eventually made the breakup, when Adamson initially attempted to free Sid in the wild, his adopted offspring refused to go.
Once history did the rounds, the Essex people appropriately nicknamed their neighbor “Swan Man,” which suited Adamson fine.
For him, being in tune with Mother Nature is what life is all about. “That is why I am here, living in the water,” he told the BBC. I’m in dreamland with all the wildlife … I wouldn’t trade my boat for a 10 million pound house. “
Back at the Ouse, Mama Swan has adjusted very well and hopes the seals will hatch soon. While Papa Swan remains vigilant, to further ensure the family’s safety, Adamson has erected fences to deter predators.
The swans, it seems, are not the only St. Ives residents grateful for Adamson’s intervention to save the nest. “It took us all by surprise when the water level in the lower marina spiked Saturday night,” Jones Boatyard posted in Facebook. “A HUGE thank you to Rob, who noticed the water licking the swans’ nest at 9pm.
“If only the Queen knew what a great service she is doing for her feathered friends!”
Hmm. ‘The Royal Order of Swan Keepers to the Crown’ has a certain tone, and since technically, by law, most British swans actually belong to the Queen, perhaps an elevation of ‘The Swan Man’ to ‘Sir Swan ‘could it be in order here?
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