SIGNS have gone up in Bradford on Avon urging people not to disturb a pair of swans nesting by the historic town bridge.

The signs warn people to keep clear for their own safety as the swans “will instinctively” defend their nest and young if disturbed or attacked.

David Robertson, of RSPB Bath, said: “My advice would be to stay away as far as possible from them for your own safety, as well as for the benefit of the swans.

“The male particularly is very territorial and gets quite aggressive if its space gets invaded.”

The pair of mute swans have attracted lots of attention from Bradford on Avon residents and visitors since they built a large nest next to the town bridge.

At the latest count, the swans are sitting on a clutch of seven eggs which are due to hatch anytime soon.

Over the past two years the swan’s nests in the town have been flooded and the eggs destroyed but hopes are high that this year’s brood will be successful.

Local people are being asked to do their bit to help by keeping away from the nesting site and have been urged not to feed the swans.

River users are also being warned to give the swans a wide berth, with Bradford on Avon Town Council asking paddle-boarders and kayakers to keep away from the stretch of the River Avon near the town bridge.

Mr Robertson added: “The public often like to feed bread to ducks and swans.

“A diet of bread alone is very unbalanced and they can get all the nutrients they need from the water weed and the insects and molluscs in the river.”

Mute swans are Britain’s only resident swan and legally they all belong to the Queen.

Once considered a delicacy on Tudor dining tables, it is now illegal to hunt one or disturb its nest.

Males can grow up to weigh 12kg, making them the second heaviest British bird after the Great Bustard.