Injured swan


I rarely see wildlife that is either injured or deformed. It may be that they are rare, or it may be that predators quickly dispatch them (or both). For the animal with an injury to persist, the injury would likely be minor so the animal could go on feeding and living. I have seen a deformity, but only once (see below).

The injury I saw distorted the shape of the swan’s neck. It was not seen when looking at the swans on the water, presumably because there the necks are held in many different positions and a deviation would not be easily spotted.

However when flying, the necks are all held in the same position: straight out. This is done to minimize air drag when flying (a heron adopts a different solution). This position is illustrated by two swans which took off from far up the beach. They spooked all the other swans which also took to the air.

When the others flew, the swan on the left swans showed a clear neck injury. This awkward position was kept throughout the flight.

I don’t often seen damaged wildlife. In 2018, I observed a male Northern Flicker with a strange bill. This rare condition is known as an avian keratin disorder. It is likely to make eating very difficult.


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5 Responses to Injured swan

  1. Colleen Scissons says:

    Thanks for the awesome photos as always. What is the Heron’s solution when flying?

  2. Karen Pidcock says:

    A sad series to share, reminding us of the fragility of our wild relatives…and of their will to keep keeping on! Thanks, Alistair, as always! I know the answer to Colleen’s wondering, I think, so will be interested in how you explain to her…with photos, I hope!

  3. Allan Hobden says:

    I know!…but only thanks to Alistair Post: Heron Drag Aug 23 2021..
    Injured Swan and photos very interesting…Northern flicker photo poignant..
    Woodbury Village

  4. Trevor Goward says:

    I LOVED seeing your Heron Drag post, which I’d forgotten about!

    Come to think of it, I suspect that many viewers would be delighted to have reposts of your golden oldies from time to time. I know I would.

    Take care


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