A swan saved from a cruel and potentially fatal sock prank is now nesting with eight eggs.
The female bird was in the Catchwater Drain in the Coulson Road area of Lincoln when she was rescued on May 2.
A black sock had been pulled tightly over the bird’s head, but fortunately she survived and is now nesting in Lincoln city centre.
Dan Sidley, who founded of the Yorkshire Swan & Wildlife Rescue Hospital in 2005, told The Lincolnite his team responded to a call from the Brayford harbourmaster within an hour on Sunday, May 2.
He said: “The sock was removed and the swan was given a thorough health check before being released back in the water the same day.
“It is an important time of year for swans, especially that are part of a pair, with nesting and we needed to get the bird back in the water as soon as we were able to.
“Thankfully the bird had no injuries but was a bit distressed, so we waited until she was ready to be released. If the swan had the sock on her head for any further length of time she could’ve starved to death.
“Every swan that we rescue and their success story is always great, but it is sad that we have to attend these incidents. We have been doing this a long time, and you think you’ve seen it all and then something else comes along and really surprises you.
“This is the first time we’ve ever seen anything like this. Given the number of incidents involving swans across our region, targeted with air rifles and crossbows and having stones thrown at them, it wasn’t a surprise, but it was shocking. I’m grateful we were able to help the swan.”
Dan added that he visited the bird again on Friday, May 7 with members of the University of Lincoln’s ‘Lincoln Swan Project’ and is due to go back again on Wednesday, May 12.
He said: “The female has laid some eggs and we expected her to begin incubating them shortly with cygnets arriving with the next few weeks.
“The cygnets will be well looked after by the parents when they hatch. Thankfully both parents are there and they will be able to rear the cygnets.
“We are keeping a close eye on them (the swan pair) and asking people to be vigilant with all the swans in the city.”
Yorkshire Swan & Wildlife Rescue Hospital received over 5,000 calls about swans and other wildlife in 2020.
Dan said that this year has already seen their busiest start to any year in their history across the region.
Lincolnshire Police are working with the RSPCA to ensure justice is served and investigations are still ongoing.
PC Llewellyn, Investigating officer at Lincolnshire Police, previously said: “Any type of animal cruelty will not be tolerated and we will carry out a full investigation into this incident. We work with wildlife organisations who report these incidents to us so we can investigate.
“We believe the item has been placed on swan’s head intentionally due to how snug the fit was and how far down the neck of the swan the tube was.
“We do not believe that this was accidental. Had the swan rescue not intervened, the swan would have either starved or potentially suffocated.
“We would like to hear from anyone who can assist us with our investigation or anyone who may have seen anyone around the swan in the water in the days leading up to May 2.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or the RSPCA cruelty line on on 0300 1234 999.