15 swans found electrocuted in Donegal -pics some might find upsetting

Photos: Daniel Moloney – BirdWatch Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland says it is extremely concerned about the deaths of at least 15 migratory Whooper Swans in Co. Donegal.

Their carcasses were discovered lying under electricity lines close to the village of Carrigans on Friday.

An initial investigation suggests the swans had collided with the wires in flight and that the cause of the birds’ deaths was electrocution.  A high proportion of the swans that were killed were juvenile birds, just a few months old.

Some of the birds were freshly dead, while others showed varying levels of decomposition, indicating that they had died on various different occasions.

BirdWatch Ireland says it is very worried that Whooper Swans will continue to be electrocuted at this site in the days and weeks to come unless urgent action is taken and has contacted the ESB to inform it of the problem and to recommend that immediate measures be put in place to prevent further collisions.


The wires in question are fitted with “deflectors” which are supposed to make them more visible to flying birds, but  do not appear to be working satisfactorily.

Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said: “It is very concerning that these migratory Whooper Swans have been electrocuted in Carrigans, especially in such large numbers.  Ireland hosts internationally important numbers of Whooper Swans each autumn and winter, and it has a special responsibility to conserve and protect them.  We sincerely hope that measures can be put in place to prevent further swan deaths as soon as possible.