IT'S the first day of summer if you believe in local legend, as Abbotsbury Swannery has welcomed its first addition of 2014.

The fluffy youngster was hatched today, Monday, May 5, and will be the first of hundreds of baby birds over the coming weeks.

According to legend, the arrival of the first cygnet marks the first day of summer.

Deputy swanherd Steve Groves said: "We know quite closely when the first cygnet is likely to hatch but the signs are that the females can become restless.

"And sometimes you can hear the baby cheeping from inside the eggshell."

The Abbotsbury swans have established 94 nests and laid more than 500 eggs this season.


The swanherds hope to see some 400 cygnets take to the water this year, accompanied by their proud and protective parents.

The adult swans are fed twice a day on wheat grains while the cygnets are fed three times daily on chick crumb, a crushed pellet full of protein. Their parents also feed the cygnets algae, other vegetation and grubs.