Valentines Day for the animal kingdom at Welney Wetlands Centre.
- Credit: Archant
Love is in the air at the Welney Wetland Centre as the warming weather kicks wildlife into action.
As temperatures rise so does the animal kingdom affection at the popular fen tourist attraction where visitors can see swans mirroring, wigeon tail-wagging and hares boxing.
Emma Brand, WWT Welney Events & Marketing Officer said: “The run up to spring is always a brilliant time to see the courting behaviours of various creatures on the reserve.
“The male ducks in particular are looking very smart in their bright colours and are always trying to show these off to their very best.
“Pochard with their red heads and goldeneye with their bright yellow eye set off against black and white feathers, both like to flip their head onto their back to attract the attention of a passing female.
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“Whilst wigeon prefer to tail-waggle and snap their bills to ward off rival males.
“It isn’t just the men who are putting all the effort in, female moorhens hold territories on the reserve and will fiercely defend their patch if a rival oversteps her mark.”
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She added it was a myth that male hares box one another. Boxing only occurs between a female and a male that has clearly not won her affection.
“In spring the wetland creatures are busy finding a mate or renewing their affection for one another. As they try to impress the opposite sex, they put on remarkable displays using their colourful feathers and interesting moves.
“Wetlands provide us with brilliant opportunities to watch some of the world’s most incredible wildlife, and at this time of year they are putting on a brilliant show,” she said.
Birds like the whooper and Bewick’s swans mate for life, forming bonds that can last more than 20 years.
To rekindle their relationship they perform displays to one another involving neck and head bobbing which can result in the familiar ‘heart-shaped’ pose.
A centrally-heated main hide allows for comfortable bird watching and the perfect setting to enjoy the commentated wild swan feeds.
Indoor crafts and outdoor trails allow families to make the most of the changeable British weather.
Upcoming events include swans awake events on Saturday 14 and Wednesday February 18 from 6-9am. Booking essential £12 per person.
In half term there are winter trails, indoor craft activities and owl pellet dissection.
On Thursday to Sunday every week until the end of February there are swan feeds at 6.30pm
At 12pm and 3.30pm swan feeds take place daily until Sat 8 March.
Hare walks are 1-2pm on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays until Saturday 28 February.