Highgate 'widow' swan has cygnets after finding lockdown love

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image copyrightLouisa Green
image captionThe pair met at the Swan Sanctuary in March while recovering from injuries after being rescued

A swan who rejected all potential mates after her first love died has had cygnets after finding love in lockdown.

The female mute swan, who lives at London's Highgate ponds, had lost her previous partner when he died flying into a building four years ago.

She met a male bird at The Swan Sanctuary, Shepperton, in March while recovering from injuries.

"Yesterday the perfect happy, fluffy ending to the swan love story hatched," the City of London Corporation tweeted.

image copyrightLouisa Green
image captionThe swans can usually be found sitting on their "well-hidden nest" the City of London Corporation said

According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), male and female swans - the cob and pen - usually attempt to mate for life.

For the past four years "the widowed swan spent her days alone flying between the Highgate ponds as if looking for her lost mate", the City of London Corporation, which maintains the Highgate ponds on Hampstead Heath, said.

The swan, known as Mrs Newbie to locals, disappeared at the start of the year after another pair of swans appeared on the ponds.

In March - a few days before lockdown began in the UK - park rangers found the female swan on the roof of a nearby house.

image copyrightRoman vester
image captionHampstead Heath rangers brought the pair of swans back to Highgate ponds together

She was rescued and taken to the sanctuary where she was put in the same pen as a male called Wallace, who had been rescued after a territorial fight at Waltham Abbey.

Gill Walker, a volunteer at The Swan Sanctuary, said Wallace blocked her path when she attempted to collect Mrs Newbie.

"I heard this communication between them and it was clear they had bonded," Ms Walker said.

"They had 36 hours together. To bond in such a short length of time, it's quite exceptional.

"She had rejected various males quite naturally. She was obviously looking for something specific."

image copyright@CityCorpHeath
image captionSwans usually attempt to mate for life

The sanctuary decided to bring the two swans back to Hampstead Heath together.

The City of London Corporation said: "It soon became apparent they had found true love."

A spokesperson warned against bird watchers trying to find the pair.

"Like all new parents they value their privacy," they said.

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