Group of swans is grounded, hooked on Slovak poppies

The birds can die from eating the toxic poppy plant.

Swans that have fed on poppy sprouts in southern Slovakia have already started dying. Swans that have fed on poppy sprouts in southern Slovakia have already started dying. (Source: Tomáš Benedikovič, SME)

Poppy fields near Komárno has become temporary home to a colony – or 'bevy' – of swans. They apparently discovered a taste for the plant, which has narcotic properties, and now show little sign of moving on.

The bevy of swans that is now grounded in fields between the villages of Iža and Patince, near the Danube in southern Slovakia, may have become addicted to eating poppy sprouts, writes Slovak daily Denník N. They now seem unable to move out of the fields. Poppy sprouts are toxic for the swans: tens of birds have already died and scientists fear that the almost 150 more who remain, apparently hooked on poppies, may ultimately succumb.

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