February 19, 2021 1.46 pm This story is over 38 months old

More swans making Brayford Pool their home again

A professor from the University of Lincoln explains why

The increase in swans around the Brayford this winter could be down to a number of them spending more time feeding at the west end of the Pool, according to a local expert.

Dr Jenny Dunn, Senior Lecturer in Animal Health at the University of Lincoln, is one of the researchers on The Lincoln Swan Project.

The project was first set up in 2017 to monitor the movements, breeding success and survival of Lincoln’s iconic swan population.

The adult and juvenile swans were fitted with unique coloured leg rings to help identify them. Peopled were asked to help track any sightings via the University’s ‘Swan Project’ app.

The project team has ringed 195 swans in and around Lincoln since September 2017. Some 1,022 sightings have been submitted through the app, which was launched at the beginning of May 2020.

Swanning along on the Brayford on a cold February day. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Swans, including a pair who have been visiting the west of the Brayford with their family. | Photo: Emily Simpkins

One of the resident Brayford pair of swans. | Photo: Emily Simpkins

Dr Dunn said: “We have several volunteer data collectors who have registered to use the app to report their swan sightings to us.

“From this information, we know that the resident pair on the Brayford still have their five cygnets, and a second pair and their seven fully grown cygnets that bred further down the Fosse Dyke towards the Pyewipe in 2020 have been spending time feeding at the west end of the Brayford.

“This is likely to explain the apparent increase in numbers of swans around the Brayford this winter.

“We are carrying out research at the moment into the behaviour of these birds, which will give us more information about how they are using these habitats, and whether this new pair are travelling to the Brayford to feed.

“Cygnets will start to disperse over the next few weeks, so any sightings you can report to us are really helpful in understanding where our Lincoln swans go and how they use the waterways in and around Lincoln.”

Swans are an iconic part of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The ‘Swan Project’ App helps to monitor the movement, breeding success and survival of Lincoln’s iconic swan population. | Photo: Emily Simpkins

Research is being carried out into the behaviour of the birds. | Photo: Emily Simpkins

Anyone who sees swans in and around the Brayford, or elsewhere in and near Lincoln, is being urged to register for the Swan Project app here. The swans are also on Twitter @LincolnSwans.

David Rossington, of The Brayford Trust, told The Lincolnite: “It is good to see the swans returning and we often see them nest on the island.

“Our job is to make sure the environment here isn’t detrimental to the swans, including keeping the area tidy as the cans, bottles and waste plastic we find is one of the biggest threats.”

Check them out from the revamped viewing platform.