Gay Swans Set Up Nest At World's Only Swannery In Dorset

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Two male swans have ruffled feathers at the world’s only swannery in Dorset after they set up a love nest together.
The happy couple at Abbotsbury Swannery are the only homosexual swans among more than 1,000 birds at the reserve.They are believed to be only the second male pair ever to hook up at the reserve. The pair show no interest in their female companions and only have eyes for each other.

Dave Wheeler, from the swannery, said: “The two birds both hatched in 2002 and are sort of together.”They have been together for several nesting seasons and basically keep territory as if they are a nesting pair.”The twosome flock together at the start of the nesting season in March and perform rituals associated with a breeding couple.Manager of Abbotsbury Swannery, John Houston, said: “The swans have been nesting together like this for several years and they get together every nesting season and form a nest together.

“They sit on the nest and act in every way as if they were a pair expecting to lay eggs.”It is quite sweet.”Like most couples, the swans are known for the occasional lover’s tiff, but are quick to sort out their differences.”They just always stay together and I hear that they have some spectacular fights with each other, but they always make up and get back together,” said Mr Houston.”We have more than a thousand swans here in the reserve and they are the only two doing this. We don’t know of any others acting in this way in the area.
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Woodpecker Takes On 10Ft Snake In Heroic Struggle For Nest

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The crimson crested woodpecker made repeated attempts to drive the snake out of the tree and was bitten by the snake five times.On each occasion the snake, thought to be an olive whipsnake, held the much smaller bird in its mouth and then let it fall to the ground below. After a fight lasting about four minutes, the wounded bird left the area and is likely to have died of its injuries or been killed by a predator.

Assaf Admoni, 38, an engineer from Herzelia in Israel, took the pictures while holidaying on the Yarapa River in Peru in June.“We think it [the snake] was looking for eggs or chicks and the woodpecker arrived to find it had moved in while she was away,” he said.“It really looked like the female was acting frantically out of maternal instinct. She just kept racing up the tree and attacking the snake on its side.

“The snake wasn’t very happy about that. It kept lunging at her and it landed its strike every time.”He said he had been impressed by the bird’s persistence.“What amazed me most was that she completely seemed to sacrifice herself for the chicks we think were inside,” Mr Admoni said.“It seemed like she would do anything to try and get this thing out of her nest.”But he added: “The woodpecker eventually left. She looked very hurt. Our guides told us she was doomed because smelling of blood would make her an easy target other predators. We don’t know what happened to her in the end.”

(source)