What We Do
Swan Lifeline rescues and provides shelter and treatment for sick and injured swans. Our aim is to return them to the wild as soon as possible.
We educate the public about the incidence and effects of pollution and human activities on swans and other wildfowl on the UK's rivers and waterways.
We aim to provide a professionally managed treatment centre to continue in perpetuity, not dependent upon any one person or group for its survival.
Our centre on Cuckoo Weir Island includes a dedicated treatment centre and intensive care unit (recently extended to nine heated pens). We have three core staff members, supported by a hands-on management team of Trustees.
We can house up to 180 swans and on average, we are called to rescue over 700 swans and admit over 300 for treatment in any given year. We work within a 50-mile radius of our site and can advise a course of action for any enquiries outside of this radius.
We work with RSPCA, Thames Valley Police, Metropolitan Police, Network Rail as well as other wildlife organisations whose inspectors will call us to help with swan rescues throughout the South East. Additionally, we have links with The Rangers who work in country parks and call on us for advice and help.
We have a small staff team and aim to have someone on site seven days a week, providing treatment and care to the swans. Our staff team take calls about injured swans, offer advice and carry out the rescues. If you want to find out more about common injuries to swans click here.
You will be able to spot our staff and volunteers when they are out on a rescue as they will be wearing our uniform and will always have their Swan LifeLine ID with them.
We work closely with a local veterinary group, Forest House Vets, whose experts can carry out major trauma operations.
We do not normally offer sanctuary to the swans, preferring instead to return them to their natural wild state.
To find out more about our rescues click here
Our education and training services
- We provide training in swan-handling to the Police, Fire and Rescue Services, Network Rail and other groups.
- Students come to us as part of their ongoing training or work-experience course. We have a close liaison with Berkshire College of Agriculture and The Royal Veterinary College.
- We work with The National Citizen Service whose students come to us in the holidays to carry out community projects.
- We work with our local Brownie packs who complete their wildlife badges at the site.
- We work with the Community Service Probation Office, enabling offenders to complete their community service.
- We work with local community partnership groups who provide large work parties from local businesses.
- We give illustrated talks to interested parties for a small donation.
- We give talks in local schools about swans and the importance of wildlife conservation.
- We attend joint meetings with other conservation groups.
Who we work with
Swan Lifeline works with Her Majesty's Swan Warden and Swan Marker and we handle swans under the authority of the former who advises Natural England.
British Trust for Ornithology
Swan Lifeline works closely with The British Trust for Ornithology, established in 1933 as an independent, scientific research trust, investigating the populations, movements and ecology of birds. Swan Lifeline holds a ringing licence and records birds admitted into care and previously un-ringed birds are ringed before release. https://www.bto.org/
Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology
We have for many years worked with the renowned research team at Oxford University. In the 1990s, its Swan Study Group identified many of the problems for mute swans, and published internationally-recognised papers. See: http://egi.zoo.ox.ac.uk/