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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Unlikely lovebirds feather their nest

Sean Keane

THEY got together on a wing and a prayer and now an unlikely coupling could result in the patter of tiny webbed feet.

Against all odds, romance blossomed between a mute swan called Albert -- who cannot fly -- and Bud, who was almost killed after a flying accident.

Albert is limited to a lake in the Castle Park, Co Kilkenny, and last year Bud was placed in the lake to keep him company. The young female was badly injured after crashing into a wrought iron gate.

And even after Bud learned how to fly again, she returned to the lake when she realised her faithful companion couldn't follow her to far-away shores. Yesterday Pat Durkin of Birdwatch Ireland in Co Kilkenny said he believed the relationship has gone one step further, with the swans now gathering twigs for a nest. Mr Durkin said Bud was spotted breaking off twigs while her partner gave her feathers to place on top of them.

He warned that the duo would both get quite aggressive towards people over the coming weeks as they continued their mating rituals. "The moment she entered the lake she formed an attachment with the older resident Albert," Pat said, adding there was a "chemistry" between the young female swan and older male.

Pat said there was a one-in-eight divorce rate among swans but believed there wouldn't be any need for fowl marriage guidance counsellors for the pair.

Irish Independent

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