Students on the furthest side of campus are experiencing fraught commutes to and from lectures as the nesting season for the university’s avian population began over the Easter holiday.
..it’s just nesting season and the majority of students here at the moment are internationals – Ben Prime, first year student
Heronbank and Lakeside residents found themselves inconvenienced and threatened by the suddenly aggressive swans and geese, known for their protective instincts and subsequent force against supposed intruders. The swans’ nest is located by the main footbridge that goes towards the accommodation halls, limiting students’ access across the lake.
Numerous students have reported to have been bitten or attacked by the birds, a large fence has been erected around the main nest to prevent accidental student infringement.
The nesting habits of the swans have not been a surprise to returning staff and students but they have gained significant media attention due to a student being quoted in the Coventry Telegraph saying that the swans were ‘racist’ against ethnic minorities.
The hashtag “#racistswan” appeared on Twitter shortly after the original article was distributed and quoted, with several students decrying the absurdity of the media attention.
— Matt Westcott (@mattwecho) April 11, 2014
Ben Prime, a first year Politics student described the situation near his accommodation: ”There’s always a swan outside our door who attacks everyone. We just work around it.
“I don’t think the swans are racist, it’s just nesting season and the majority of students here at the moment are internationals.”
He also expressed a preference for the swans saying that “Geese dominate seating areas and paths” and that the swans were “alright, they poop a lot”.
Other students have reported the birds attacking cars as well as students, much to the dismay of motorists.
A spokesman on the behalf of the University said: “We are blessed [to have] over 50 types of birds on campus and simple common sense tells most people to give any bird more space when it is protecting a nest, particularly if they are a large bird.
“The story arose after a student was contacted about something they had posted on social media that they intended to be humorous. The student is greatly saddened to see how a flippant remark they then made was reported. The student says that they now both regret and withdraw that remark.”
Swan nesting season is usually expected to cease during May, providing a respite for all students of Heronbank and Lakeside, regardless of ethnicity.