Public asked to stay away from swans as they nest in Bradford-on-Avon town centre

  • Watch a swan with its seven eggs

People are being asked to leave a family of swans alone as a clutch of seven are due to hatch in the centre of Bradford-on-Avon.

A pair of mute swans have built a large nest next to Town Bridge and are attracting lots of attention.

For the previous two years swan nests in the town have been flooded and the eggs destroyed, but hopes are high this year's brood will be successful.

Local people are being asked to do their bit to help by keeping away from the nesting site. The RSPB advises the public not to feed swans except in freezing weather.

The swan nest is next to Town Bridge, right in the centre of Bradford-on-Avon. Credit: ITV West Country

David Robertson of RSPB Bath said: "The public often like to feed bread to ducks and swans.

"A diet of bread alone is very unbalanced and they can get all the nutrients they need from the water weed and the insects and molluscs in the river."

River users are also being warned to give the swans a wide berth, with the town council asking paddle-boarders and kayakers to keep away from the stretch around Town Bridge.

David Robertson agrees, and said: "The male particularly is very territorial and gets quite aggressive if its space gets invaded. So my advice would be to stay away as far as possible from them for your own safety, as well as for the benefit of the swans."

The stretch of river (highlighted in blue) which the town council is asking the public to avoid. Credit: Bradford-on-Avon Town Council

Mute swans are Britain's only resident swan and have an iconic status. Legally they all belong to the Queen.

Once considered a delicacy on Tudor dining tables, it is now illegal to hunt one or disturb its nest.

Males can grow up to weigh 12kg, making them the second heaviest British bird after the great bustard.

Female swans are known as 'pens', while males are 'cobs'. Credit: ITV West Country

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