Photo: miniloc (iStock)

When I come across waterfowl in real life, I steer clear. Geese and swans seem pretty ferocious to me. And apparently, they’re savvier than I realized, as this story in The Telegraph informs me. Some swans are reportedly invading a small town to go through the rubbish bins and leftovers to find grub. Keep your bread crusts to yourselves, please; these swans are on the prowl for fancier fare.

As The Telegraph puts it: “The Windermere swans have been waddling nearly half a mile to Bowness-On-Windermere where they scavenge for scraps outside a Tesco supermarket and fast food outlets.” This activity appears to have popped up after someone tried to stop people from feeding the large birds, posting a sign that said, “Please don’t feed the ducks, geese and swans bread or fast food.” Soon after, the swans started traveling to where the real food is. Some waddle at least a half-mile, while one has been known to journey at least three times that far for the discarded food.

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Weirdly, no one seems to know who put up the sign in the first place, but they may want to take it down. Although once the swans have tasted fast food, it’s unlikely that they’ll go back to those crusts of bread. Having all those swans in town is causing various hazards, in traffic and for pedestrians on the street. Honestly, I would be so freaked out to be that close to the waterfowl, I would probably move. Or just carry a loaf of bread on me to have at the ready, although a representative from the Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds tells The Telegraph that the swans should “only ever be given [bread] as a small part of a varied diet.” As with humans, the fast food isn’t good for the swans, and “its grease can get stuck to their feathers.” More appropriate alternatives include bird seed, halved grapes, potatoes, and green vegetables, which also might have the added advantage of sending the swans into a new town to pilfer.