Bonnie the swan starts a new life after being attacked by her partner while nesting – Hayley Matthews

What an emotional week at the Figgate! Everyone was waiting on news of Bonnie the swan who was nesting and getting a hard time from her partner.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Hayley Matthews has a huge fondness for swans and she's not alone (Picture: David Cheskin/PA)
Hayley Matthews has a huge fondness for swans and she's not alone (Picture: David Cheskin/PA)

I first realised something was up when a post detailing concern for Bonnie was getting a lot of comments. Her partner was being very aggressive towards her so that Bonnie couldn't hatch her eggs – and she was so close. Despite lots of help from the community however, mother nature had her own plan.

I'd written a few weeks back about seeing a swan nesting in the Figgate but wasn't sure if it was Bonnie. I love watching them and have a huge fondness for swans and it seems I'm not the only one.

The guys who have been keeping an eye out for Bonnie and keeping everyone updated from the Figgate Friends Facebook page clearly know her well and Bonnie is a very popular and very well liked swan.

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When I read that her partner had been aggressive and hurting her, I felt so sad for her and wondered what was up. Was this normal behaviour for swans or was Bonnie’s partner just jealous? I'm no expert but things didn't sound good.

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Then on Tuesday I saw a statement from Figgate Friends that broke my heart.

"Bonnie abandoned her nest this morning, she was so near to hatching her eggs but it was not to be,” it said.

"There is no doubt that Bonnie managed to get this far because of the huge love and support for her by members of the community, some of whom have spent hours every day looking out for her on the boardwalk.

"She was spotted later this morning in the burn under the bridge. She doesn't look injured so she is probably just taking stock before she moves on. She has been on the Figgy pond for close to 20 years so it won't be an easy move for her."

So so sad I thought, she was so close to hatching her eggs but she listened to her instincts and left the nest. She maybe didn't feel safe or was worried her mate would attack the signets, either way it's a sad situation.

All I could think of was those four little eggs waiting to hatch and meet their parents. Nature’s a bitch sometimes!

But Bonnie is an expert at mothering so she had to do what was right for her. I was amazed to read about what a great parent she's been and how since 2003 she has fledged 68 young including 35 since 2013 with Clyde. What a female!

I'd been keeping an eye out later in the week and apparently she's had a supported move from the SSPCA to Musselburgh and seems to be doing well according to photos from Eddie White on Facebook.

She's living a new single life down there now and I wonder what's going through her head.

What must Bonnie be feeling? I'll be taking down some chopped up lettuce, rice and peas (their favourite) as a house-warming present and to tell her to stay off Tinder – or "Swinder" until she's had time to rest, recover and settle in to her new pad.

So a big thank you to Figgate Friends Facebook page for keeping us all updated on Bonnie’s situation and recent pics of her on the Esk from avid swan-helper Rosie McGlynn.

Here's to a fresh start for you Bonnie Bird and you never know, you might just find new love on the Esk.

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