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'Protective neighbours' ensure no swansong yet for our feathered friends

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No reality TV show comes close to topping news about our natural-born heroes: the black swans.

There’s drama, love, the joys of family life and even grief playing out on a daily basis around the waterways at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast.

Regular posts, photographs and reels on social media and conversations in the streets of Bokarina, Wurtulla, Currimundi, Birtinya and Kawana Island update and captivate residents and visitors alike.

Life’s ups and downs and everyday antics of the swans evoke feelings of fascination, empathy, amusement and concern in us all – akin to that of protective first-time parents.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

As well as being an emblem of Western Australia, black swans have usually been associated with Maroochydore (the area was named by explorer Andrew Petrie in 1842 from the Aboriginal word ‘Murukutchi-dha’, which means ‘red bill’, in reference to the graceful creatures).

But their increasing presence around Lake Kawana, Currimundi Lake and their respective canals doesn’t go unnoticed.

Black swans are an emblem of Western Australia and our own Maroochydore. Picture: Shutterstock

Black swans are an emblem of Western Australia and our own Maroochydore. Picture: Shutterstock

Courtships, the progress of hatchlings, walking with their young through the park, eating algae and waterweeds by the shoreline and swimming lessons in the canals – it all grabs the attention of passers-by who document the tales for the masses to enjoy.

But at times, we feel they exist on a wing and a prayer, with the constant threat of cars, fishing tackle and litter, domestic dogs and cats, foxes and snakes.

When one is injured or killed, the magnificent swans and cygnets really pull at the human heartstrings.

On January 5 this year, one resident on Facebook’s Wurtulla Watch News posted a video of the good work performed by an Australia Zoo team after one of the swans had a hook stuck in her beak.

With the swan’s concerned family members gathered just off the resident’s pontoon, the team members successfully removed the hook that was preventing it from eating.

Without the “amazing” quick action and expertise of the zoo, the swan surely would have died, the resident told Sunshine Coast News.

We certainly love them like our own.

And that’s what prompted JW570 to post a friendly reminder on the Birtinya Community Group Facebook page on January 7 to keep the swans’ safety uppermost in their minds.

“Two swans were found on the road along the decks and were difficult to see. I was disappointed to find lettuce and frozen vegetables left close to the road and the food was promptly cleaned up,” the post read.

“Whilst the food that the swans were being fed is fine for them, please consider feeding them safely away from any vehicles, roads or other dangers as we unfortunately had a swan killed on Nicklin Way last month. Another reminder to revise and remember which foods are safe for the swan’s consumption. Frozen vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, spinach) are fine but breads aren’t. Breads can severely damage their digestive system and contributes to increased hunger in the swan’s stomach therefore making them hungrier and more unwell.

“Lastly, I’ve seen plenty of posts from other community members regarding to the concern for the swans’ health surrounding injuries caused by fishing hooks and wires. Please refrain from fishing if any swans are present and avoid them as much as possible to further decrease the risk of injuries.”

With friends like these, the beautiful creatures are sure to be swanning around the place for years to come.

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