Swan Gets Stuck in Narrow Drainpipe on Side of College Building

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Daniel Katchkin/Getty Images)

A young swan was recently rescued when it got itself stuck in a narrow drainpipe. The pipe happened to be on the side of a building at St. John’s College in Cambridge. Firefighters were called to the scene. They first observed the situation to see if the swan could get out of the pipe by itself.

“The trapped cygnet was given time to see if it would be able to free itself but when it became clear that it was not able to get out, we contacted the RSPCA and an animal rescue officer arrived on scene on Friday afternoon with the fire service,” said Steve Poppitt, head porter at St. John’s College.

The swan was stuck in a drain on the side of the Old Library on the college campus.

A video shows the firefighters and RSPCA personnel rescuing the swan. They scaled the building to get to the roof. Then, they set up a pulley system to lower the rescued bird to the RSPCA staff waiting below. They used a special “swan bag” that swaddled the bird and made sure it wouldn’t thrash around on the pulley system. The bagged swan was taken to the nearby River Cam and released, uninjured.

Swan Gets Stuck in England, While in Finland Researchers Believe They Can Save Vulnerable Birds

Researchers at the University of Turku in Finland have tested two methods of protecting vulnerable, endangered ground-nesting birds from predators. The methods tested are non-lethal, and would work alongside hunting to lessen predation from red foxes and raccoon dogs.

Both tests consisted of using artificial nests. For the first test, the international research team spread waterfowl odor around the artificial nests in a wetlands area. The goal was to see if a large amount of prey odor in an area would prevent predators from finding the nests.

The second test involved food aversion. Eggs containing a substance that caused nausea when ingested were placed around the wetlands. The goal of this test was to condition predators to associate eating the eggs with subsequent nausea.

The results showed overall that red foxes were much easier to deter than raccoon dogs. Red foxes responded better to both the chemical camouflage and the food aversion than raccoon dogs did.

Professor of Ecology Toni Laaksonen said of the tests, “Our results are interesting as they indicate that these methods could reduce the nest predation of vulnerable and endangered waterfowl species. Next, it is necessary to study whether the results we observed with the artificial nests can also lead to the preservation of real bird nests and through it to a larger number of young birds.”