Hampstead Heath swan’s wife swap

Run out of his home, cuckolded, attacked (twice) and finally taken to a sanctuary - it’ll be a lonesome Valentine’s day for this cob

IT’S a sad and sordid tale more suited to the likes of shows such as Wife Swap or Jerry Springer.

But instead, this sorry tale of bullying and cuckoldry was played out on our very own Hampstead Heath between four swans – feathered friends who are supposed to mate for life.

Around four weeks ago a male (cob) and female (pen) pair moved in to the Highgate side of the pond, only to be joined by another couple last week.

Annoyed by the presence of the late-comers, the original pair forced the second pair to instead retreat to the bird pond.

However, whilst enjoying their new peace and quiet, the first couple were rocked by a dog attack, which saw the pen being taken away to a sanctuary for treatment. So, the audacious and newly bereft cob hatched a plan and instead stole his former patch-rival’s pen and began mating with her.

However, not content with cuckolding the swan he had only recently evacuated from his home, the cob attacked the other male as well – sitting on him in attempt to crush him and pecking him – an incident captured by local wildlife photographer Ron Vester. But the cob’s misery was not over there – after being relocated away from his bully in the boating pond he came out of the water only to also fall foul of a dog, who tried to attack him.

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In the end it must have been some relief when Heath rangers took him away to a local sanctuary.

Mr Vester said that the whole drama was highly unusual. “This isn’t normal, because mostly the swans do mate for life, but then on the occasion they do not,” he said.