A swan with a secret is a thing of beauty.

swan on nest

If you wait patiently until she stretches you might just catch a glimpse of why she is so radiant.

swan eggs

The five eggs in this clutch each weigh @340 grams and will take 34-45 days to incubate.

swan eggs

Imagine her shock when her first born turned out to be not at all like herself!  Then she remembered the story of “The Ugly Duckling,” and smiled.

swan cygnet

But if First Born was not yet handsome at least he was inquisitive. Right away he demanded to know where he came from, and spent many long cygnet-hours staring at his beginnings trying to piece together the age-old puzzle.

swan chick and egg

Then, once he sort of understood the “chick ‘n egg” thing, he had a chat with his mom about that long neck of hers that reached so far up into the sky.

swan chick with momSuddenly, barely 24 hours old, First Born had a yolk-slimy little sister to contend with!

swan cygnet

Like any good older brother, he decided to teach ‘Lil Sis a thing or two from his vast experience.  “This is a twig,” he showed her.  “One day you will need these to build a nest.  See if you can pick it up.”

swan chicks

But ‘Lil Sis couldn’t coordinate that clumsy beak of hers and only managed to poke herself in the eye.

swan chicksNevertheless, First Born was still optimistic and decided to share with her everything he had learned about eggs and how baby cygnets come to be.

swan chicks contemplating broken egg

But alas, his sister was not much interested and obviously did not possess the requisite talent for existential conundrums.  First Born gave her a good ‘tongue-lashing’ and made sure his mom was nearby so she would understand how smart he was compared to his obtuse little sister!

swan chicksFirst Born realized that another sibling was due any moment now and he hoped it would be a smart little brother that he could bully and educate rather than another dumb sister who was no fun at all. So he sat down to wait…

swan chick with egg

Oh, no – another girl! With the same passive features and vacant stare!

swan cygnets

First Born always carried himself with dignity.  He stuck his little neck up as far as it would go and watched everything his mom did so one day he could grow up to be tall and competent, just like her.

swan cygnets

In quick succession two more siblings climbed out of their shells.

swan cygnets

But First Born didn’t have a chance to find out if these two were brothers or sisters because a mean lady came and snatched up the entire clutch and whisked them off to foster care.

The parents were bereft.

😦 😦 😦

Fair and accurate reporting is usually dull and boring. It is far more interesting to craft narratives with villains and rough edges.

But I would be remiss not to point out that Samantha and the Parks & Recreation Dept. are trying to do the right thing. Last year not a single swan hatchling survived on Lake Morton.

This year, therefore, they are taking the cygnets into protective custody in the hope that they can be nurtured to maturity and re-released back into the wild in due time.

samantha and swans

9 thoughts on “The Chauvinistic Cygnet & His Obtuse Sister

    • I hope so too, Gunta! Swans on this lake are the pride and even the official graphic logo of the City of Lakeland, so they have a keen vested interest in their welfare.

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  1. It’s surprising that the parents weren’t more aggressive when the cygnets were being taken, isn’t it? I’ve been chased by geese protecting their nests, and it’s no fun, and these swans look really big. What a great tale.

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    • Yes, it is a bit surprising. I watched the swans immediately after their chicks were snatched and they only “complained” and were agitated for a couple of minutes, then seemingly settled back into a normal routine without more fuss. Go figure…

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  2. I was instantly taken in by your lovely tale and fabulous photographs…even until the sad ending. It reminds me of sea turtle hatchlings in their slow march to the sea, and the need for human intervention to assure their survival.

    Elisa

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