Wildlife Watch: Cygnets

A cute group of fuzzy new cygnets gather together in shallow water under a bridge on Watermead in Aylesbury.

Some cygnets enjoying life on the lake where they gather together in some shallow water for a spot of grooming while mum watches on from under the bridge.

Watermead is home to a number of swans and scores of ducks and geese, which attracts many families who enjoying feeding and photographing them.


Swans feed in the water and on land. They are almost entirely herbivorous, although they may eat small amounts of aquatic animals. In the water food is obtained by up-ending or dabbling, and their diet is composed of the roots, tubers, stems and leaves of aquatic and submerged plants.

Although swans only reach sexual maturity between 4 and 7 years of age, they can form socially monogamous pair bonds from as early as 20 months that last for many years, and in some cases these can last for life. The lifespan of the mute swan is often over 10 years, and sometimes over 20, whereas the black-necked swan survives for less than a decade in captivity.

These bonds are maintained year round, even in gregarious and migratory species like the Tundra Swan, which congregate in large flocks in the wintering grounds. The nest is on the ground near water and about a metre across. Unlike many other ducks and geese the male helps with the nest construction. Swans are known to aggressively protect their nests, indeed during the filming of this clip, the mother swan made her presence known with the cygnets in close proximity.