A black swan, who has died at the age of 17, was a prominent figure in the campus waterfowl rights movement.
The swan lived on the University’s Heslington West campus from 2001 and had a greater impact on its political landscape than any other individual bird in the last 20 years.
Any student who has lived on campus will be familiar with birds protesting by pecking kitchen doors, walking slowly along footpaths at times of peak student traffic, and defecating in huge numbers at particularly inconvenient locations such as the entrance to the Biology buildings.
These protest tactics have been employed for a myriad of reasons since the swan organised the first demonstration over a decade ago, but perhaps the most memorable cause was the campaign for improved living conditions for the waterfowl around Derwent College.
The fact that so many ducks and geese also partake in the protests is testament to the swan’s oratory skill and ability to bring different groups together.
It is clear that the swan’s legacy will live on in the work of other feathery activists. He will be remembered for his belief that if something is worth complaining about, then it is worth flapping your wings, charging at students and covering a walkway in poo about.
He is survived by one other black swan on campus, leaving just eight mating pairs in the country.
Friends and family of the black swan are invited to attend a memorial service on the 8th of March. Location TBD.