Wild swans flock together in large numbers at several WWT Wetland Centres, creating a wildlife spectacle that you'll remember forever. The busiest time is winter, when resident mute swans are joined by migratory Bewick's swans from Russia and whooper swans from Iceland.
Wetland Centres with wild swans give them some extra food every day during winter - as you would for garden birds, but dished out from a wheel barrow! It brings the birds up close and our experts are on hand to tell you about the swans' fascinating stories. Each Wetland Centre is different and you'll find more details below.
"An assembly of swans is one of our most moving wildlife pageants. The jostling family groups of snow-white adults and greyish cygnets have a mesmeric beauty, while the birds' evocative bugling calls suit frosty weather to a tee."
Most wild swan feeds are seasonal, taking place when the migratory Bewick's and whooper swans are with us. The swans arrive in autumn and leave in early spring. Around these times, please check directly with the Wetland Centre to find out if swan feeds are taking place.
These walks and talks are all included in admission price or are free to members. Times may vary so please check on arrival. If you have a large group, please contact the centre in advance.
Slimbridge's Bewick's swan flock is world famous thanks to WWT's pioneering research. Attend a Bewick's swan feed and our experts will introduce you to individual wild swans, whose lives have been studied for decades, and unveil the drama of life among the flock. Bewick's swan feeds take place everyday at 4pm throughout winter.
There is also a large flock of mute swans at Slimbridge, which are fed daily at 12.30pm.
In the grounds at Slimbridge there are also several swan species from around the world: coscoroba and black-necked swans from South America, black swans from Australia, trumpeter swans from North America and Bewick’s and whooper swans from Northern Europe.
Up to 2,000 migratory Icelandic whooper swans winter on the wetlands at WWT Martin Mere. They are fed everyday between October and March at 3pm in front of the Swan Link hide, and then at 3.30pm in front of the Raines Observatory. The warden's commentary will give an insight into the swan's lives and WWT's work to conserve them.
Martin Mere is also home to a large colllection of wildfowl from around the world and you can see coscoroba and black-necked swans from South America, black swans from Australia, trumpeter swans from North America and Bewick’s and whooper swans from Northern Europe.
The Ouse Washes holds the biggest concentration of wild swans in western Europe. Each winter up to 7,000 whooper swans and 2,000 Bewick's swans swell the numbers of resident mute swans creating a breathtaking spectacle. The heated observatory at WWT Welney is the perfect place to take it all in. Experts give a commentated swan feed daily at 3.30pm.
Each winter hundreds of whooper swans return from Iceland to join the flock of mute swans. The new, two storey, fully-accessible Sir Peter Scott Observatory gives breathtaking eye-level views of the swans flying in. Between October and March, the swans are fed in front of the observatory at 11am and 2pm daily. The warden will give a commentary and answer questions.