Return of Hamburg's Alster swans signals start of springtime

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 12 Apr, 2010 Updated Mon 12 Apr 2010 15:54 CEST
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Hamburg’s famous Alster swans returned to the water few weeks late on Monday as this year's brutally long winter prepared to give way to springtime temperatures this week.

After more than four months in their winter quarters, Hamburg's “swan father” Olaf Nieß lead several boats to move 120 birds to the port city’s outer Alster lake.

The animals will now be able to find sufficient food on their own, a spokesperson from the Hamburg-Nord district said.

At the end of the November the swans made their traditional trek to their winter retreat in the Eppendorf district’s mill pond, which is kept free of ice year round.

They have been a part of the city landscape since the 11th Century, under the care of a “swan father” - Hamburg’s oldest municipal post – since 1674.

The birds now grace the Hamburg city emblem, and their return to the Alster signals the start of spring each year.

After weeks of cool, rainy weather, the German Weather Service (DWD) predicted Monday that temperatures would rise as high as 16 degrees Celsius by mid-week.

Tuesday will be cloudy and rainy in most of the country, with temperatures topping out between eight and 11 degrees, though snow could still fall above 1,000 metres.

While it will still likely be cloudy in northern and western regions with rain in the south, the thermometer will read as high as 15 degrees.

Meanwhile Thursday will be slightly warmer, with highs of 16 degrees expected in the Lower Rhine region, the DWD reported.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast.

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