Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
In the early 1980's there was real concern about falling numbers of Mute Swans along our rivers and research on dead birds showed they were consuming significant numbers of lead pellets from fishing equipment which was, unsurprisingly, affecting their ability to breed as well as eventually poisoning them.
As soon as this was known fishermen changed from using lead weights and the problem halted almost as quickly and we now have a thriving swan population again. We regularly see over eighty birds on our three mile stretch of the river.
The Mute Swan for me is, as Chris Packham would say, a top ten bird (along with 25 or so other species!). It must surely be one of our most beautiful birds and they are so serene as they glide along the river.
Dorset has a special connection with swans of course with the swannery at Abbotsbury and Swanage being named after them. I guess that makes the Mute Swan our county's bird?