Belfast Telegraph

Swan causes morning rush hour flap in Belfast as awol bird goes on the run

By Claire Williamson and Ricky Thompson

South Belfast motorists were caught up in a flap after an unusual road blockage brought traffic to a halt.

Some commuters had a rather strange excuse for when they arrived late for work today as their morning journey was hindered by a swan on the run.

Reports began to circulate on social media that a swan was blocking the junction of New Forge Lane and Malone Road in south Belfast.

Motorists were forced to stop at the junction with New Forge Lane to allow the bird to carry on safely but it wasn't phased by the traffic and decided to hang around.

A local resident passing by decided to take action to keep the bird safe and the traffic moving.

"I saw the swan walking around and I was worried it was going to get hurt," said Stephen, who lives nearby.

"I stopped to see what I could do to help it and gently edged it off the road. It doesn't look in good health so everyone is concerned about it.

"Apparently it's been bullied out of the river by other swans."

Stephen said his wife called animal welfare organisations including the RSPB and the USPCA but was told it was a police matter.

The man said he was surprised saying he didn't think the police were trained or equipped for catching swans.

David Wilson, from the USPCA press office, responded saying: "It's up to the police to call us if they need us. For the USPCA to be involved the bird would have to be injured.

"The best you can do in this situation is move it to a quiet place as you're very unlikely to catch it."

As to why the swan may have been in the area, Mr Wilson said:"Sometimes swans can see a road as a body of water, if there is some rain or moisture on the road."

A PSNI officer was on the scene and attempted to capture the swan but was unable to do so.

It is thought the swan could be the same one that was moved from East Belfast on Monday which also created a stir during rush hour.

The swan was rescued by Andrew Johnston who was dropping his girlfriend off at Belfast City Airport when he noticed the bird at the side of Sydenham by-pass.

Andrew used to be a zoo keeper and had some experience of looking after large animals.

"We held a blanket up and cornered it up against the wall.

"After putting a blanket over the swan the men put it into their car and took it to a local vets for a check up.

"It had no obvious breaks and only had some superficial wounds to its legs," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra.

The swan was moved to safety and released back into the wild at Shaw's Bridge in south Belfast.

And today the last spotting of the awol bird was that it had moved from the Malone Road up towards New Forge Lane.

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