Somerset

First cygnets in nine years hatch at Chard Reservoir

Swan and cygnets
Image caption The swans are the first to breed at the reservoir since 2002

Five cygnets have hatched to the first pair of swans to breed at a Somerset nature reserve in nine years.

Rangers at Chard Reservoir are feeding the birds fresh grass and grain after taking advice from Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset.

Ranger Tim Brown said the site usually saw a couple of visiting swans and it was "absolutely wonderful to see a breeding pair" - the first since 2002.

He appealed for people to keep dogs on leads when near the shore.

"The countryside rangers have many years of experiencing the sad loss of cygnets, and other young waterfowl, due to dog attacks and we do not want this to happen at Chard," he said.

The reservoir is managed by South Somerset District Council, which is installing a floating raft so that the cygnets, which hatched earlier this month, can feed in safety.

Work is under way to create a better habitat for wildlife at the site.

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