Sadly the sun will not rise again for Henry, one of our local Sydney Park swans, who was found dead in the pond reeds Saturday last week. Henry was the father of last years cygnets, the first born in the park. It’s believed he and Matilda had mated again earlier this month, and we were hoping for more cygnets. The park is an off leash dog area but dogs are not allowed in the wet land area which is partially fenced. There is not near enough interaction in the park by the council rangers, and some dog owners could act more responsibly. Last year I witnessed an off leash dog, whose owner had no leash and no control, kill a peahen. I often have dogs run up and jump on me, including while I was taking the sunrise in the west pic.
I’m 5′ 7″, fond and not scared of dogs. Imagine if that wasn’t the case. Henry’s previous mate was mauled and killed by a dog a few years ago. Without knowing if a dog was the cause of Henry’s death, it has added to ongoing controversy.
Many park regulars have contacted City of Sydney Councillors voicing their concerns in the hope council will put up better fencing, so it will be safer for the swans and other water birds, and provide greater presence of rangers without restricting the dogs. I received a number of pleasant and/or interested acknowledgments to my own email but only one noteworthy response.
Thank you for letting me know about Henry and his death. It is incredibly sad when a well-known member of the community passes, and this also applies to the local birdlife. Swans are so elegant and graceful and just make you feel calmer by watching them.
Without any evidence of the cause of Henry’s death, there is nothing that can be done, I am sorry. If you witness any acts of dog attacks on birdlife, or anything for that matter and you have a phone with you, please take photos and send them to Council as it will allow an investigation to proceed. The fencing off of water areas is complex. Some people believe that there should be no restriction of access and there is the counter argument that you raise. The best option, I think, is for comprehensive dog training to be part of dog ownership so we can all share the spaces without negative results.
“Now wakes the hour
Now sleeps the swan
Behold the dream
The dream is gone.”
Swan death sparks resident push for tigher off-leash dog areas at Sydney Park,
Daily Telegraph news story
Earlier this year I posted we’re expecting when two of the feathered residents built a nest and laid a clutch of eggs in the lower pond at Sydney Park.
To understand the level of local excitement and ‘ownership’, you have to know the royal couple, christened Henry & Matilda, have their own Facebook page… Sydney Park Swans
The park is my morning daily walking route, and a lovely stroll on a Sunday with the G.O., so we were able to conveniently keep an eye on the happenings. And happenings there were… a saga worthy of a soap opera: hope, tragedy, recovery, and triumph.
Sadly, in June’s winter rain, the nest and eggs in the lower pond were flooded. An interloper swan ‘Trudy the Intruder’ tried to tempt Henry away from struggling Matilda and their unborn progeny into her feathered clutches – Trudy secretly wooing Henry on neighbouring ponds – Matilda ousting the hussy from the home pond and away from fickle Henry.
Henry resisted the temptations of young Trudy. He and Matilda moved to the middle pond, built a new nest and started again.
A couple of days ago, the cygnets hatched. It’s early days yet, but 4 out of the 5 are doing ok and enchanting their fans, doing the circuit of the pond with mum & dad.
I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.
The Ugly Duckling, Hans Christian Andersen