Yesterday I received an email for advice on a cygnet with Angel wing. Clare Kendall on the Kennet and Avon canal was concerned about a family of Swans that she has observed since hatching, and found my Blog post on Angel wing while doing an internet search.
Clare emailed the enclosed photo's showing the cygnet with both wings badly affected. Angel wing is a condition that might genetically appear every few generations, or as a result of poor diet and too much protein. Clare says that tourists are forever feeding them white bread and other rubbish and thinks this might be the cause. Angel wing starts by rapid growth of the wings, when the bone structure is not yet strong enough to support the weight of the new feather growth which is heavy with blood . The wing feathers then start to fall outwards and end up growing out from the body rather than correctly folded onto the back.
This has a devastating effect because the bird will never be able to fly and is banished from the family unit, and sometimes killed by the parents when they try to drive it away when fledged. The condition is easily corrected by bandaging the wing into the correct position for a week or so, and giving it a green diet, but has to be done early enough to succeed. This case is quite advanced and might not be fixable. I have passed information onto Clare, and Sue our Avian adviser who might be able to help.
BELOW: I successfully treated "Lefty" one of our cygnets a few years back at an earlier stage,
it was the only cygnet case of potential Angel wing I have known in the last 11 years on our river.