I read with interest the piece with a photo of six swans at the College rowing club on the Itchen Navigation (Hampshire Chronicle, November 23). 

The story last year, and reported in the Chronicle in June 2022, was that Winchester College pupils, along with members of the public, animals and boats were being attacked by an aggressive swan. 

They sought permission from Natural England to remove the adult swans and to destroy the eggs, which the adults were protecting in the nest. 

Many locals, including myself, who walk the navigation on a regular basis were surprised and dismayed by this action. 

Natural England did not, as far as I am aware, seek the views of anyone but the College. I am sure that had I, a mere member of the public, run to Natural England complaining that a swan was attacking me, they would have told me that that was what swans do in the nesting season if you get too close; that I should give them a wide berth and referred me to the law which makes the intentional killing of the bird itself, or disturbing its nest or eggs an offence.

Similarly, the College could have explained to the rowers that they should stop splashing with their oars when in the vicinity of the swans and their nest and that their coaches should stop shouting orders at them from the bank and the bridge. 

If the College wishes to avoid this so-called aggression in the next breeding season, they might like to consider telling their pupils not to disturb the habitat of the swans. Perhaps the College should consider providing lessons in how to live in harmony with the natural world. For the time being it looks like swans have returned, providing pleasure to many. One has to hope that this will continue.

Andrea Owen,
Culverwell Gardens,

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