Two lonely cygnets rescued separately have found a happy ending – and an unusual foster carer – in a north-east wildlife sanctuary.
Little Sydney was brought to the New Arc, near Ellon, after being found all by himself at Lochter, near Oldmeldrum.
A family found him alone near another family of swans, so took him down to see but realised the other cygnets were much bigger.
They then took him to the New Arc to be looked after where he was at first kept alone.
Keith Marley, who runs the sanctuary, realised Sydney was feeling a “bit down” so put him in with some mallard ducklings for company.
Then a second cygnet, Stuart, was later found alone in Stuartfield and brought to the sanctuary in the “nick of time” according to Mr Marley.
A fortunate pairing
Stuart’s arrival was fortunate for Sydney who was not mixing well with the ducklings.
The two were paired together and are now living happily in the centre with a lion teddy “fosterer”.
Mr Marley said the cygnets were given the lion as a comfort and the New Arc has a stash of teddies for this reason.
“If they’re on their own we put in a soft toy as a comfort,” he said.
“Ducks, in particular, do fixate on things and it’s good for them to have something to cosy up to.”
Sydney and Stuart will stay at the New Arc until they are fully fledged and have learned how to fly.
Mr Marley stressed that the biggest concern to the rescue at the moment is the avian flu outbreak.
Describing it as the “worst outbreak ever” in the UK he explained the disease can be asymptomatic – meaning the centre has to be very careful when rescuing birds.
Mr Marley recommended anyone who finds a young bird, or any wildlife, to phone for advice first before they pick it up and before they give it anything to eat or drink.
The New Arc can then give advice on the best course of action to take after.