My Ryde Magazine report was written and submitted on the 5th of December as they need reports in early every month for copy and printing (did not know about avian flu back then), leading up to that date 4 swans had already died since September and it had reminded me of what happened 4 years ago where 6 swans died over the course of 2 months, Defra recommends any waterfowl deaths in the same species are reported to them if it gets to over 5 in case of avian flu, so back then a dead swan was sent to Defra.
After examination the cause of death was found to be over feeding.
If you read my report again you will see I ask all residents who provide dry feed to the swans to consider halving their portions in case it's over feeding again, as what tends to happen in winter is the multitude of Canada geese leave and we are left with less waterfowl on the lake, the problem is more residents worry that they are not being fed enough and tend to distribute the same quantity of daily portions (some twice a day)
Swans will eat all they are fed and have small stomachs that burst when dry food expands inside.
There is algae on the lake bed and that is what swans are supposed to eat and if there was no food there they would fly off to seaview marsh (like they do in the summer to nest as the many Canada geese tend to break their eggs to guarantee their young get the best chance of survival) but we all know mums like to take their children to feed the ducks etc.
Over the years council officers have erected signs around the lake explaining what waterfowl eat as an attempt to deter feeding by way of education.
Needless to say this has never worked, so all I can do as local ward Cllr is ask those who feel they should feed to consider other residents who do the same and try to feed a little less when there are less waterfowl on the lake during winter months.
I believe it was the 2nd to last swan out of the 7 that died this year that when examined was found to have died from avian flu, it could still be possible that the other 6 swans could have once again died of over feeding (as no avian flu was found in them).
The main thing is thankfully it was discovered and the remaining swans were not destroyed