Swans are arguably nature’s most gracious blessing. There are few visions more tranquil than watching these elegant birds glide across a water source.
However, what is often forgotten is that the furious kicking of the legs beneath the water matches this surface serenity. While it may seem that swans do not have a care in the world, powerful survival instinct drives them.
A British swan lover named Rob Adamson knows this better than most. Adamson dwells on a houseboat on England’s Great River Ouse, which flows for over 140 miles throughout multiple English counties.
Like all rivers, the Ouse is prone to rising tides. High water levels can play havoc with nature – especially in Cornwall, where Adamson lives, as this is an area of unspoiled natural beauty.
So it proved to be for one particular swan, who continually lost her eggs to mighty, fast-moving waters. To add to this animal’s issues, she laid her eggs in territory frequently patrolled by wild foxes. These animals have no qualms about helping themselves to swan eggs as a snack.
Rob Adamson observed this from his houseboat and became determined to help. Having earned the nickname “The Swan Man” after a decade of aiding lost and injured swans, he embarked upon his greatest challenge yet.
Adamson created a life raft from plastic, then attached it to the shore through a rope. Under cover of darkness, he placed the swan’s nest onto this raft.
This movement served two purposes; it prevented the nest from being washed away and kept it from the attention of hungry foxes. While these animals can swim, they prefer not to if avoidable. Like domesticated dogs, foxes loathe wet fur.
Ordinarily, it is ill-advised to intervene with nature – especially swans. The grace of these birds masks a volatile temper, especially in males.
A swan is allegedly quite capable of snapping the arm of a human if angered. Despite being seated in the nest, however, the mother of these eggs made no attention to stop Adamson. Neither did a watching male, assumed to be the father of the nest.
These swans, it appeared, understood that Rob Adamson had their interests at heart and trusted him. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending that befits this trust.
The eggs have stayed aboard the makeshift raft and have since hatched. As a result, Rob Adamson has enabled a swan to finally become a mother for the first time – and likely not for the last.
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