Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mute swan

I took these photos of a Mute Swan Cygnus olor in Kew Gardens recently.

I've always liked swans and if I see any I try and take photos.

Some of my earliest memories involve swans since my parents would take my sisters and I to feed the swans at the weekend. My dad always divided the stale bread into equal portions beforehand to stop any squabbling but I'm not sure it was completely eliminated.

I loved seeing the cygnets and the half grown 'ugly duckling' swans, as well as the graceful adults.

Swans can be very territorial, especially when there are cygnets to protect.

One of my sisters was threatened by a swan when she was quite little. She had thrown some bread and it hadn't reached the water, so she had crept forward and picked it up again. However, the cob swan must have felt the cygents were endangerd so he hissed and flapped his huge wings at her. I remember my sister being frozen to the spot and my dad sweeping in like a superhero to protect her.

After that every time we went to feed the swans he warned us not to get too close and would follow it up with the comment "that a swan could break a man's arm if it wanted to."

I'm not sure if many people have suffered broken arms as a result of swan attacks but there have been instances of water skiers and and kayakers who have been attacked by territorial swans, especially during the breeding season.

Swans are in much greater danger from humans than humans are from swans though. Swans are protected in Britain [and many other places] and its an offence to injure or kill a swan or interfere with its eggs or nest

I think this swan is probably a female [aka pen] -the black knob on top of the beak is larger in the male [aka cob].
It settled down ready to sleep, with its beak tucked under its wing.

It doesn't look like the most comfortable sleeping position since the swan's long flexible neck is twisted round across its back , but I suppose its maybe the most compact position for conserving heat.

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1 comment:

natural attrill said...

I especially like the water in the second photograph.