Regular visitors to Cleveleys coastline were quick to make sure its latest additions knew the pecking order...
But a new art installation worth £12,000 had scarcely been in place for a few days before half of it disappeared.
A dozen colourful sea swallows were unveiled on the promenade wall, at the end of Victoria Road West.
They were part of Wyre Council’s Mythic Coast art trail, attracting attentions from passersby and birds alike over the weekend.
But already the flock has “flown away” after six were stolen from the wall of the seating area some time between Sunday and Monday.
The remainder of the transparent resin sea swallows were removed by council staff on Monday until further notice.
Despite the disappearance, the council has defended the artwork, which is part of the £2.1m Sea Change Project.
Coun Gordon McCann, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration at Wyre Council, said: “Although this may be a time of austerity, we still need things like this to lift spirits and make people smile a little.”
The sea swallows are part of the trail between Cleveleys and Fleetwood, which includes a memorial, at Anchorsholme, to ships wrecked off the Fylde coast, a four-metre high stainless steel sea shell on Cleveleys beach and the Rossall Point observatory.
The swallows were paid for from the European Regional Development Fund awarded for the furniture element of the Cleveleys sea defence works.
Visitors to the area have not all been in favour.
Dog-walker Bob Norton, 66, from Cleveleys, said: “It baffles me, in a time of austerity, to waste money on something like this.”
One woman, visiting the coastline from Fylde, said: “They looked really nice but in this economic climate there’s not money to burn.”
However, Coun McCann added the works were an attraction to pull in visitors.
He said: “The artwork should be seen as an investment, something to bring more visitors to our beautiful coastline.”
The council is now looking into whether replacing the sea swallows is affordable, saying ready made moulds for the sculptures would reduce the cost from its original £12,000 price tag for design and development.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police confirmed they were looking into the theft after Wyre Council reported the incident to them.