A NESTING swan on the banks of the River Avon is filmed being hounded by large scavenging rats. Having built her nest by a pontoon overlooking the river, near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, the swan has discovered that she’s a prime target for the rodents.
It’s unlikely that they’re actually trying to get at the eggs on which she’s sitting – more likely is that they’re after some of the organic scraps caught up in the material she’s used to build the nest.
But whatever they want, they’re preventing her from getting any rest at all as she cares for her eggs – the scrub and bushes that surround the nest are teeming with rat activity, and she must be constantly on her guard.
Rats appear to have become both more numerous and more daring during the weeks of lockdown. One theory is that with minimal human activity going on, they are much less timid about emerging into the open. Another suggestion is that the lack of people about means there’s much less rubbish for them to scavenge, so they have had to become more adventurous in their hunting habits.
What is beyond doubt is that the natural world, and the wildlife that inhabits it, is finding lockdown just as unusual as the rest of us.
- Do you have footage or photographs of nature taking advantage of the absence of people in the Stratford district? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to see them.