Grieving swan crosses road every day to stare at its own reflection following death of mate

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The solitary swan lost its mate last year

A widowed swan has been crossing the road every day so it can stare at its own reflection in the windows of a Telford school following the death of its mate last year. The solitary swan was snapped waddling across Grange Avenue outside Telford Park School in Stirchley on Thursday (January 11) by construction worker Spencer Clayton.

Commuters sat bemused and watched as the wildfowl stopped traffic and used the zebra crossing to make it safely to the other side. But locals in Stirchley have said that the swan has been making the same journey from nearby Mad Brooke pool to the school each day for more than a year.

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"The swan makes that journey every day from the pool to the school," said Gemma Davies. "Apparently it lost its partner. As swans mate for life, the reason it goes to the school is it sits by the window which is reflective. The reflective window gives it a sense of comfort as it sees a reflection that looks like its partner at its side.

"The school confirmed that the swan is there each day and that it was a 'pen' (female) that has been making the "heartbreaking" journey to stare at its own reflection for more than 12 months.

A spokesperson for Telford Park School said they had made efforts to have the swan collected by a sanctuary without luck; wildlife experts are also unable to help. It has been coming for about a year now," said the school.

A swan has started hanging around at Telford Park School, after its mate died. It appears to find comfort in looking at its reflection in the glass panels on the school buildingA swan has started hanging around at Telford Park School, after its mate died. It appears to find comfort in looking at its reflection in the glass panels on the school building
A swan has started hanging around at Telford Park School, after its mate died. It appears to find comfort in looking at its reflection in the glass panels on the school building | National World

"It is a female and we have spoken to the RSPB and Wildlife Trust but they said there is not much they can do to help. They have told us not to approach her and not to feed her.

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"It is heartbreaking. She comes every day and spends all day staring at herself at the reflective band along the bottom of the school building. She does go back to the pond every night but each morning she comes back."

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The RSPB said grieving was "normal" behaviour for swans. A spokesperson said: “Swans do form monogamous pairs and generally remain together for life. Should one die, ‘grieving' behaviour is often observed so this is normal and to be expected.

"The pen may eventually leave and join other swans, eventually pairing up with a new male, but she may also end up living alone forever too. Our advice is always to keep a distance from wild birds, avoid direct contact and not to feed waterfowl due to the current avian flu outbreak.”

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