I think it must be time to bring the story up to date with regards to our resident swan family…. It wont be that long (hopefully) before we will be seeing this year’s family coming along….
Last time, we left them having just raised their first brood and turning their attention to preparing for the second….
This time around, the pair knew exactly what they were doing…. The nest building went smoothly, all went according to plan and six cygnets arrived. Once again, I had the formal introduction and as we all knew what we were doing this time, the normal feeding regime resumed. Sadly, two babies were lost within the first few weeks, to Mr Fox….
It soon became apparent Mum and Dad were to be far more relaxed with their parenting skills this particular year, may be a little too relaxed…. They did not seem to put much effort into teaching this brood to fly and they ‘saw them off’ much earlier than the previous family – well before Christmas…. Once more all four found their way down to the same pond that their older brothers and sisters had made a temporary home the year before. Eventually, they too took off, to start their adult lives….
Floppy and Lady settled down for Winter with us and as Spring approached, began preparations to become parents again…. This time five cygnets hatched and at first it looked as if things would fall into the same rountine as before….
When the babies were just a few days old, for whatever reason, only known to them, Mum and Dad decided to take their young family ‘walkabout’. The careless pair managed to leave one of their youngsters behind, on the pond…. As it transpired, that was actually a stroke of luck for this particular little fella as tragedy was about to strike…. Mr Fox had obviously been awaiting his chance. Floppy and Lady lost all four cygnets on that fateful ‘walk’. It was a very sad day….
The remaining cygnet, who we named ‘Precious’ has thrived…. I believe it to be a male, although my track record at determining swan gender is not great! He is a cheeky individual and he is not ‘backwards at coming forwards’…. When I approach with food, he doesn’t wait to be fed but comes hurtling towards me and if I give him the chance will grab the food from my hand; although I am pleased to note he is wary of people in general….
His parents have been somewhat neglectful in teaching him to fly – although I have been told that last weekend he discovered the art for himself. Unfortunately, I wasn’t around to see his ‘maiden’ flight but have witnessed a few practise flights since…. I am actually surprised he is still with his parents, his feathers are predominantly white and he is already larger than his mother….he is going to be a big bird! Mum and Dad did try one sneaky trick a couple of months ago, whether it was a deliberate attempt to ‘off load’ him, I don’t know….
The family went on a visit to the pond down the road – the same one the previous broods had ended up on…. Mum and Dad conveniently ‘forgot’ to bring Precious back with them…. The poor soul was down there for a whole week, with just a couple of ducks for company. He eventually found his way back to his parents, who were none too pleased to see him and spent the next few days trying to chase him off…. Precious is a determined little guy though and persevered, eventually the adults relented and to this day he remains with them….
So, that is where we are right now… When Precious does finally ‘fly the nest’, I will be really sad to see him go….and I have a feeling it wont be long before he does. When I went out to feed them this morning, for the first time ever I was wary of him, as he showed signs of aggression towards me…. Dad is beginning to chase him, so I am sure his departure is imminent…. However, I am confident he is more than capable of looking after himself…. and fingers crossed, come Spring, we’ll be doing all this again….