08:30AM, Friday 23 November 2018
Swans could be at risk of starvation if people stop feeding them bread, a charity has warned.
A national ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign launched earlier this year telling the public not to feed bread to swans due to concerns it could cause abnormal wing growth.
But volunteers from the Datchet-based Swan Support told the Express that birds on the River Thames are now in danger due to weight-loss triggered by a lack of food.
Wendy Hermon, founder of Swan Support, said: “Swans have been fed bread for centuries and there is no scientific evidence to say that bread is bad for wildfowl.
“I will fight this because I want the right message put across.”
The charity discovered a dead swan in Reading on Wednesday which weighed just 4.8kg.
Wendy said it should have weighed at least 8kg and attributed the death to starvation.
Volunteers also found a cygnet in Windsor on Tuesday that weighed 5kg and admitted it to their rescue centre to give it more food.
“It’s a situation that humans have created,” Wendy added.
“The flock won’t disperse and go elsewhere to find food because they don’t know any different.”
She said the royal birds would struggle to make it through the winter if people stopped feeding them bread.
Swan Support has advised the public to provide a balanced diet to swans including grains, cereal, swan pellets and leafy greens – mouldy bread should never be used.
However advice on the RSPB website states that swans can normally find enough food from the wild, including aquatic vegetation, to survive without the need for extra food.
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