A swan kept walking into traffic after his mate died. Neighbors saved him.

A few days after Charlie the swan’s partner died in an accident, the bird wandered into traffic in southwest England. Nearby residents rushed out of their homes to help lead Charlie back to his pond, where they hoped he would be safe.

But Charlie kept wandering back to the road and through alleyways last week, honking in search of his mate, Cassandra. Residents of Devizes, a small town about 50 miles west of London, worried that it was only a matter of time until a passing car struck Charlie.

Sally Noseda, who lives near Charlie’s pond, contacted a swan rescue service, but it wasn’t available to help for about a week. So Noseda and her neighbors made it their mission to keep Charlie away from the two major roads surrounding his pond — sometimes resorting to blocking traffic so the swan could cross the street.

“That whole week, we were on tenterhooks,” Noseda told The Washington Post.

Charlie was under nearly constant surveillance until Saturday, when Swan Support, an English rescue center, took him in, as first reported by the BBC.

Wendy Hermon, Swan Support’s coordinator for rescues and treatment, told The Post that Charlie is receiving “five-star accommodations.”

“We can’t thank the public enough for caring for these birds, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have rescued him,” Hermon said.

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Charlie and Cassandra had been living in the pond in Devizes for nearly 2½ years, along with geese and ducks. About 15 neighbors whose homes are near the pond named the swans and fed them corn, lettuce and carrots. They also regularly shared photos and videos of Charlie and Cassandra in a neighborhood Facebook group.

But on Feb. 24, a resident witnessed a tragic scene. Cassandra was lying on the grass and bleeding. Noseda, 74, got a message from a neighbor and ran across the street.

Cassandra was dead. Neighbors saw on CCTV footage that the swan had hit her head against the pavement while landing and managed to move to the grass before she died. It had rained earlier in the day, so Noseda thought Cassandra might have confused the blacktop for water.

As a veterinarian picked up Cassandra’s body, Noseda and her neighbors walked Charlie to the pond. His legs were shaking. Swans often mate for life, so Charlie “was quite shocked,” Noseda said.

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The next day, Charlie, who is estimated to be between 5 and 10 years old, barely ate or slept. He roamed the town.

Noseda shared her concerns for Charlie’s safety with Swan Support, which is based about 75 miles east of Devizes in Berkshire. Due to other rescues, though, an employee couldn’t check on Charlie for at least three days.

That’s when Noseda and her friends formed their Charlie-watch party. They posted swan updates every few hours on their Facebook group. They led him through crosswalks at intersections and steered him back toward his pond.

“It got to be more of an issue the longer it went on,” Noseda said.

Hormones might have played a role in fueling Charlie’s heartache and wandering, because swans typically breed in March, Hermon said. At one point, before Swan Support arrived on Saturday, Charlie had wandered about a mile from his pond. Noseda said she and others were panicked until Charlie was spotted on a bridge — but he was injured, with cars driving around him.

He was treated at a nearby wildlife hospital, where Swan Support eventually picked him up. Charlie is still taking antibiotics for his injuries but is calmer and honks in excitement when Hermon greets him.

He is expected to recover within a few days and will be released back into the wild with a flock.

Noseda said Charlie is missed around the neighborhood, but his fans hope he will settle down in a safer habitat — and find love again.

“Once he’s finished his grieving time, and nobody quite knows how long that’s likely to be … I’m sure he’ll find another mate,” she said.

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