November 6th

Monday, November 6th, 2017

The pond on the farm was iced over this morning!

My mom and I stood in the backyard as we watched five swans (two parents, three cygnets) come in to land. There was no wind, the air was so still, and as they came in and their feet gracefully slid across the ice, the thin, delicate ice made made the most beautiful sound as it echoed through the air. If sparkling had a sound, that’s what it sounded like. It was magical.

They shook out their feathers and settled in quickly; the entire family relaxed into a nap on top of the ice.

As I drove back up the driveway to head home, I stopped to photograph them. It took them a couple of minutes before they realized I was there. I stood quietly for a while, as its not often that swans are caught with their guard down.

This pair and their cygnets have been on our pond on and off throughout the fall. I know it’s them, as many of the swans start the nesting season with 5-8 cygnets, but usually end up with only one, two if they’re lucky, by the end of the season. I’m not sure what exactly preys on young swans, but whatever it is it’s efficient.

So these five stand out because of the fact that three survived (way to go mom and dad!). In this image, these are two of the three – note the grey feathers on their head and back? Although they are the same size and mom and dad already, they won’t be completely white until they molt out next year.

Swans are fascinating to me. Did you know that swans mate for life? In fact, even though most swans aren’t sexually mature until age 4-7, most Swans find their mates before they are 2 years old! Due to this, young Swans will often play “house;” they test out different nesting habitats and build nests in preparation for parenting in future years.

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