As It Happens

This British swan won't stop knocking on people's doors for hours on end

Stephen Legg isn't sure if the swan that knocks on his door all day really likes him or really hates him.

'I've got a variety of names for it,' says one resident. 'I wouldn't be able to say it on Canadian radio'

This swan, nicknamed Cedric or Percy by its neighbours, spends all spring knocking on doors in Northhampton, England. (Submitted by Wendy Howard)

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Stephen Legg isn't sure if the swan that knocks on his door all day really likes him or really hates him.

"I don't know. I'm not sure if swans are personal like that," the 70-year-old Northhampton, England, resident told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

"It lives in a lake which is adjacent to the property, and at this time of year, it seems to come and spend the whole of its day tapping on my front door."

The swan in question has been terrorizing the neighbourhood with its persistent door-knocking over the last five years, residents say. 

"People call it Percy and Cedric and almost everything else, and I've got a variety of names for it," Legg said. "I wouldn't be able to say it on Canadian radio."

Percy a.k.a. Cedric seems to have taken a particular liking to Legg's home. It opens and closes the mail slot door like a door-knocker.

"Originally we thought he was trying to sort of pick insects off the glass pane, but I think now he just likes the noise," Legg said. "He can do four or five hours in one go if he's having an off day…. I find it a bit irritating after a couple of hours."

The feathered fiend raps on the door almost every day between March and June, Legg said.

"He doesn't do it all the time because his girlfriend is lurking around as well. And so they disappear and have a swim around the lake, and then he comes back and there's another 10 minutes of knocking on the door."

One year, Legg says he put up a plastic bag to ward off the noisy neighbour, and the bird concentrated its efforts on a nearby house instead.

"But the trouble was, of course, the postman and the newspaper boy couldn't deliver things. So I didn't have any post for three months."

For years, Legg and his neighbours have endured Cedric's antics with little fanfare — until Northhampton resident Wendy Howard posted a video of the bird's shenanigans on Facebook, and the story took off. 

Now Legg is fielding calls from journalists around the world interested in Cedric.

"It just seems completely remarkable in this day and age that people should be interested in this old swan," he said. 

Howard told As It Happens she walks by Legg's neighbourhood regularly, and often sees the bird doing its thing.

Fortunately for her, she lives far away from the swan's preferred stomping grounds. 

"I'm lucky I pass by," she said. "I wouldn't want my door being continually rapped."


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview with Stephen Legg produced by Niza Lyapa Nondo

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