A poorly cygnet has been rescued from a pond in Swadlincote. Staff from the Linjoy Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue were called by a concerned resident who thought the bird had been hit by a car, as it could not stand up.
When staff arrived at Midway Ponds, in Swadlincote, they found that the cygnet had not been injured, but was struggling to stand because it was so weak.
A spokesman from the group said: "I went straight over and found cygnets in the water. As I fed them, one came out and the other was obviously struggling. I quickly grabbed him as he reached for food from the water and the problem was evident.
"The poor thing is absolutely emaciated. His ribs, spine and neck vertebrae are prominent and he is weak. This may have been caused by worms or lack of food.
"Swans have a habit of pooping all over the van but this poor boy didn't. In fact, he passed nothing at all until over an hour later once he had been fed. He was so hungry that he ate an entire dog bowl full of seed and bread."
The cygnet, who has yet to be named, will now live with a new family at the sanctuary in Lincoln Road, Stapenhill, while he is cared for by professionals. He will remain at the centre over the winter months until he has made a recovery, and will then be released back into the wild.
"There is a time-frame of returning youngsters back to parents of 48 hours although it is not guaranteed they will accept a youngster back. As such he will remain in our care with the other 11 we currently have.
"We keep our youngsters for their first winter to give them a head start in life. He will be released at some point next spring once a natural food source is more plentiful. The release site is usually Croxall Lake or Stapenhill Gardens where there are large numbers of non-territorial adults."
The swans in Swadlincote have created a stir with residents, as many were heartbroken when a cygnet was killed after being hit by a car in Midway in July.
Staff from the animal centre have issued advice to residents to help them to care for the birds, and stop them from becoming so ill.
"People can help by feeding them as there is not enough grazing to sustain the ducks and swans. Mixed grains, lettuce and bread are readily eaten.
"There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about bread. It doesn't harm birds, but they should not be overfed on it.
"Contrary to a new myth, it does not cause them to bloat. Birds have a different digestive system and bread contains carbohydrates which can be held as energy reserves in the winter as a treat or addition to their natural diet."