Seagulls were spotted devouring swan eggs at the Bakkatjörn pond in Seltjarnarnes, a Reykjavík suburb, last week, putting the likelihood of swan hatchlings at the pond this spring in doubt. A swan which has been laying its eggs at Seltjarnarnes’ pond for years, is believed to have left its nest because of human activity and therefore made way for the seagulls to the nest.
Kristinn Haukur Skarphédinsson, animal ecologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, told Morgunbladid that people who were sailing on the pond earlier this week are likely to have scared the swan couple away from their nest.
“Swans don’t let […] lesser black-backed gulls scare them away from their nests,” Skarphédinsson said, explaining that swans don’t scare easily when they are nesting and are known to chase foxes, sheep, children and even old people away if they get too close to their nests.
“I have only once before seen egg thieves in a swan nest. It was an Arctic skua which ate eggs that were unprotected after I had inadvertently scared the swan mother away from her nest,” Skarphédinsson said.
After investigating the scene on Thursday night, Skarphédinsson found out that there were still two eggs left in the nest. A short distance away there were two other eggs that had been eaten; a third was whole but ice cold.
Yesterday the web edition of Morgunbladid posted a video of the swan couple with two little hatchlings swimming on Seltjarnarnes’s pond.
More on fluffy hatchlings here