A burst of windy weather saw over 600 swans blown onto the washes at WWT Welney Wetland Centre over the weekend, but more than 8,000 are still expected over the coming weeks.
Around 9,000 whooper and Bewick’s swans will be arriving over the coming weeks including some birds that have been visiting the washes for generations.
Bewick’s swans can be identified by the individual bill patterns which are as unique as human fingerprints, but with over 3,000 of them wintering on the Ouse washes as well as 6,000 whooper swans, it is much easier to identify any swans that have leg or neck rings with identification codes.
Sam Lee, public engagement officer at WWT Welney, says: “Identification rings on swans form a vital part in the research about their migratory patterns.
“It’s fascinating to find out about our swans, where they have been, who they choose to spend their lives with and how many cygnets they are bringing back to the UK with them each year.
“The more people that report sightings of ringed swans the better we understand these majestic birds and are given an insight into their lives so that we can help to protect them.”
Visitors to WWT Welney can report swan leg rings from the reserve or from sightings in the surrounding area to staff to help with this research.
All they need to do it note down the colour of the ring and the 3 or 4 digit code.
This winter, visitors will also be able to find out the life histories of their swans by using the new interactive swan ring station in the main observatory.
For those unable to get to the Welney centre, the best thing to do is to report sightings through email@example.com