Written by Staff Writer
11 Apr, 2014 | 9:18 am
Warwick University in England has erected a fence around a campus lake to stop a spate of swan attacks on students.
A 4ft tall bird, which boasts an 8ft wingspan, has been accused of behaved aggressively towards foreign students as they cross over a footbridge near its nesting place at the university’s Gibbet Hill campus in Coventry, West Midlands.
The footbridge is used by hundreds of students everyday as a route between accommodation and university buildings. Undergraduates revealed that the swan only appeared to target students from ethnic minorities.
One 24-year-old student from India said: “These swans are very annoying, and the students feel as though they’re being bullied.
“I’m from India, and they attack me especially, they focus straight on me.
“We’ve been warned that the swans will be a bit feisty at this time of year, but they go for me all year round.
“I think they don’t like too many Indians in England – maybe the swans here are a little bit racist.”
Italian student Albertina Crocetti, 24, who is studying Physics with Business Studies, said: “It’s bizarre, she doesn’t seem to like foreigners and attacks them to defend her nest.
“She’s a true right winger that’s for sure – they certainly seem to be racially motivated incidents.
“It’s scary as I know they can some damage, its safer now she’s been fenced off so nobody gets hurt.”
Marketing student, Palkein Ratra, 24, added: “I saw the swan yesterday evening, my friend was on the bridge and he was eating and the swan just randomly started biting off his jeans.”
During the March to May breeding season, swans become very territorial and can be aggressive towards intruders. They often threaten humans who venture too close to their nests, issuing a warning call. Geoff Grewcock, the manager of nearby Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, said the swans’ aggressive behaviour is not uncommon.
He said: “Because it’s breeding season, it would be normal for swans to behave that way – particularly if they’re in a pair, as in this case.
“The females will be laying eggs or nesting, and this is a territorial thing – there’s nothing you can do to appear less threatening, it’s best to keep well away.
“It will go on for another eight or twelve weeks, but they can actually get even more aggressive once they get cygnets.
“When a swan bites you, it can hurt, but it’s more their wings you have to worry about – they can bruise your legs when they flap them at you.”
A spokesman from Warwick University said: “We are blessed over 50 types of birds on campus and simple common sense tells most people to give any bird more space when it is protecting a nest, particularly if they are a large bird.
“The story arose after a student was contacted about something they had posted on social media that they intended to be humorous.
“The student is greatly saddened to see how a flippant remark they then made was reported.
“The student says that they now both regret and withdraw that remark.”
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