A Dead Swan at Painshill Park. Why do Cygnets die?
Painshill Park is an amazing park in Surrey near Cobham just off Junction 10 of the M25 and well worth a visit. We have been regular visitors now for over 10 years but yesterday saw a sad sight of a dead swan, cygnet really. No clear reason why it had died, no injuries visible, weather no worse than normal .Just sad really. The swan was lying near the top of the main lake not far from the Ruined Abbey and plenty of other Swans and Cygnets were swimming around.
I did a little research to find out maybe what might have happened. Swans firstly tend to have few real predators except when young. New born cygnets are mainly lost to crows, herons, magpies, turtles, pike and large perch. Both cygnets and full-grown swans are also the prey of foxes and mink. Other dangers include vandalism, pollution, dogs and various poisonings. Who knows what happened to our cygnet?
The Daily Mail however do have an online story of interest. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-454255/Mystery-heartbreak-seven-cygnets-vanish-one.html
Seven cygnets have vanished without trace in a week from Cheltenham. The rangers report that the last time they indeed lost a cygnet of this age was in 1991. So the death of our cygnet is unusual. Other trawling of websites suggested this:
The cygnets may have picked up something on the migratory pattern, i.e., lead poisoning, botulism (although most of the time, it would be a more immediate death (within 24 hours if botulism is the culprit). Do the cygnets look like they have lost muscle (neck) control? Are they exuding a thick saliva from their mouths and exhibiting convulsions prior to their demise? These questions would lead to some type of poisoning.