How to Befriend Swans – A step by step guide

For those of you who follow us on Twitter you will already be well aware of my mission to befriend the Marina swans. Having seemingly proved successful I thought I would take the opportunity to pass on this Swan befriending knowledge.

You can become friends with a Swan family in three simple steps. To follow this guide you will need the following:

  • Swan friendly food – I choose Peas
  • A hungry swan
  1. Enticing your Swan – In order to be successful you first need a willing Swan participant, there are currently two swans in the marina (And now their adorable 5 signets). To first get the swans attention I tried frantically waving, and shouting ‘No come this way I have food’, seemed to work well.

  2. Feed Me – Once you have the attention of your desired Swan friend you need to make all that effort spent gliding on over to you worth their while. I did this by dishing out plenty of Swan friendly food, I chose peas, you need plenty, Swans are hungry and you want enough to befriend them over a couple of weeks.

  3. Eat, Sleep, Feed Swans, Repeat – In order to befriend a Swan you need to repeat this process multiple times. Our Swan friends are like clock-work, every night around 7pm when I sit out with a cup of tea they come by and hiss at me till I feed them. Should I be a little late (Trying to locate another bottle of gin .. I mean waiting for the kettle to boil) a hungry Swan Face will appear at the boat windows to death stare you until you provide food.

    Feed me

Should you be successful in steps 1-3 you should have yourself a pretty regular Swan friend. Who is happy to bob in the water next to you whilst you have your evening cuppa (cough cough gin), with you providing the occasional handful of tasty tasty peas. Should you be very good at this art you may even be blessed with said Swans bringing their babies to meet you. Cuteness overload and all for the price of six tonnes of peas and 4 weeks of work!

Good luck swan lovers.

The original Swan whisperers – James & Kirsty

13 thoughts on “How to Befriend Swans – A step by step guide

  1. I will be honest… when i googled, “can i become friends with a swan,” i came across this. And im 100% sure this kind of effort was precisely what i was searching for. I am quite nervous. Seeing as though my swan friend is big as F***. Heh. But from day 1, swan was alone! I became interested in the creature, since i love all the beings of cuteness and coolness. Ive friended a couple of unique/new breed duck families this year and some huge softshell turtles as well! And omg, the babies ARE THE BEST PART. no doubt.
    Back to the swan… lol.
    I mentioned said swan to my dad(has vast uselesss knowledge),after walking past it, the same place, for a week.
    I was saddened that it lacked a mate. So i asked my dad, “Is it normal for a swan to be alone ALL the time?”
    He said, “No, They’ve always got a mate & They mate for life.”
    I was over joyed at the concept(Since monogamy is so impossible to find these days🙄)
    it still hasnt told me how the affair/death/loss of its swan mate unfolded, but nonetheless, it makes sense to enjoy the company for… however long!?
    Unknowing how i should befriend it, i found yall..And now i do! Thanks so much, I greatly enjoyed this. I may substitute gin for jack, but its all in good nature.


  2. Well we have two Trumpter swans that I befriended by following these steps (I had not read this article beforehand). They have both become very loyal friends over the last couple of weeks and have seen a series of changes of their attitude towards me.

    At first I heard them out on the main lake and went to see, there was two of them flying circles around the lake. A couple of days later I spotted them on the other side of the pond which is separated by train tracks and attempted to get their attention but they were simply not interested and seemed skittish even on the other side of the tracks where I can’t even get particularly close to begin with and they didn’t seem interested in the few pieces of bread I tossed.

    The next day they were scoping out our side of the tracks and pond area so I attempted to befriend them again. The male swan swam towards me curiously while I tossed a few pieces of bread, at first he didn’t even seem to know what bread was inspecting it carefully then sniffing it before sampling a piece. The food seemed good and next thing I knew I had both of them feeding about 15 – 20 feet out
    they were too afraid to come any closer the first time.

    The following days proved much more successful on the second day they were already coming closer and by the third day they knew to come when they saw me. Then they would leave for a day coming back the next but kept coming back. Then after a week they started ripping of dead bull rushes and chose a nest site and our friendship had grown to enough trust that they were hand feeding.

    That went on for another week when the male swan started getting out of the water and eating on land beside the pond. The female followed suit and started doing the same behavior she tends to be shy but a lot sweeter of an attitude. Their nest was starting to get big after three weeks of work and the female only leaves a few times a day to feed so most interactions are with the male. He started going searching for me and started coming to me over longer distances but I always try and maintain feeding at the pond. Now he just continues to test his limits and is walking up to our patio and what is very interesting is he takes an aggressive stance with his wings spread but when I go outside to him he will just hiss a few times realize who I am and the bluster show ends.

    Just today I was working on the septic runoff drainage ditch which had to be dug out. Sure enough I look behind me after a few minutes and he is there watching me. So I got a couple of pieces of bread for him and he stayed and waited until I finished. So I said to him “okay I will take you down to the pond” so I walked down the hill through the forest to the pond and he follows me all the way down.
    I stand just off to the side and tell him “alright you got to go back to the pond” then he just looks at me walks right by and back into pond.

    It is really amazing that they have let me enter their world they are extremely intelligent and are able to suppress their aggression for their friends. There is a level of respect that must be maintained you cannot let them see that you fear them but respect comes into play here that you don’t make sudden moves that might invoke an undesired response and use common sense. You don’t just walk by swans that don’t know you like they are not even there. If you take a look at swan attack videos it’s almost always a mis-judgement on the person whom is being attacked. Either they walk by showing no respect, they are approached and demonstrate a fear response invoking a chase or bluster is used such as flailing a jacket or waving arms well my friends the swan is the master of show and bluster do not even provoke that.

    About bread I know it is not recommended however after doing some research I found some very sound unbiased information from a reputable source.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for the information! A pair of swans were living in my lake cove early this summer but now, sadly, there is just a solo swan. I feel empathy for him/her. I’m going to fill my thermos with hot coffee (with just a SMIDGEN of Kahlua) and kayak out this morning with some greens from my garden to attempt to cozy up! Wish me luck …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a swan who has been coming since lockdown, he comes every day we have bonded, he came over to me first and I have him Linseed and Soya bread which he loves, he gives me such a beautiful greeting which I read means Happy To See You, now the last couple of times he has brought two friends, one
    tries to stop me feeding him and steals his food, but he is smart, when they all go he sneaks back to eat in peace, my partner says the swan likes me better than his friends and it’s funny, when his friends are here he doesn’t do his usual greeting, maybe he thinks they will be jealous lol 😂


  5. I have a swan that has become my lockdown buddy, he has been coming on his own, there is a post in the garden he comes to for feeding ,then a couple of weeks ago he came with another swan
    I guess who has followed him, I don’t mind feeding them both, but when I feed
    them both ,the new swan steals the food
    from the other ones beak ,and my buddy
    is so sweet ,does nothing and this makes me sad, how can I stop my buddies friend from being so greedy ,my buddy is so gentle taking his food, the other one tends to snatch more,
    By the way sometimes we now have four swans, guess the word is out the food is good here


  6. Hi there! I live in Australia on a salt water canal in a beach city. I have 2 swans who first visited with clutch no 1 last year and who came back this year. Wonderfully they brought 7 tiny cygnets to my house beach which was lovely. I do not go close as I do not want them to trust people ( for safety reasons) so I stand on a deck a metre or so away – I try to leave out two large buckets with fresh water(which they love) and iceberg lettuce, peas and corn. It’s swan soup! The parents are so careful but there have been a few brawls should another swan visit- dad. Is one tough customer! Especially when babies were little. But they are all now almost grown- the daddy swan is my dear friend- he calls out to me, comes and stands by me and we have a trust ‘thing’. His family are big, strong and well fed. While they are fine in the wild- they occasionally go away for a week here and there- they always come back and then home to see me (well maybe to eat:)) every day. They were even learning how to fly yesterday (v funny!) I love my swan family<3


  7. I’ve been ‘befriending’ swans for a few years now, I’ve come across a youngster that isn’t fully fledged whose parents are in the process of telling it to ‘go stand on your own two feet!’ (should that be flippers?!) Im not your typical angler that normally shoos them away, I like to ‘talk’ and befriend them (the youngster likes iceberg lettuce, but I’ll try peas!) the adults mate seems to have vanished and seems to have ‘accepted’ the youngster back, what would you recommend?


  8. HI,
    Our pair of mute swans come up to the farm twice a day for corn, sometimes appearing at midday in forlorn hope as well! Their two 7 month cygnets come too, quite often on their own. The cob, who I have known and loved for over 8 years, is beginning to get fed up with their company and will soon be driving them away up river, where there is another swan loving family who will feed them. Having reared broods of 9 and 7 in the past, this year sadly only 2 from 6 survived, possibly due to the prescence of a large white egret and a couple of otters.


  9. We have two swans in the pond next to my 6 year olds school and went to check today how they were with my 4 year old and obviously she wants to feed them so will take all your advice and tomorrow will take some peas and oats and see how we get on. Thank you all so much for the helpful advice as don’t want to give them something that will upset them.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a lone mute swan living in my lake. He/she (not sure which) was immediately friendly. He came up to me as soon as he saw me sitting in my lounge chair. Im assuming he is used to people feeding him. Not afraid or leery at all

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s