I’ve been thinking about the swan lately. We saw him alone on the bog last week. Swans are rarely alone, so it did make us pause and wonder. They mate for life, with rare exception, and the young remain with the family for about a year until they mature. I don’t know if the swan we saw was male or female. I do know that the partner was with their maturing cygnets nearby on Wing Pond, so I’ve arbitrarily decided that the female was with her brood.
A fellow bog walker shared the information that the swan had been on the bog for a couple of days, becoming more and more agitated and plucking out his feathers in a frenzy. Someone had called animal control. The general consensus was that our solo swan had been kicked out of the family for some infraction. The family had other problems as well. We had been used to seeing four cygnets as part of the family group. Recently, there had been only three. The theory was that a snapping turtle had killed the missing one.
I had never heard that turtles could pose a danger to swans, and I tucked that information away. As fortune would have it, the next day while reading a collection of Mary Oliver’s essays, I came across the following quote about snapping turtles, “More young geese and ducks vanish from the water than live to flex their wings.” I guess it’s really true that you learn something new every day.
The swans have retreated to some hidden place away from winter’s icy grasp. I don’t know if the solo swan rejoined the family, or if he’s huddled somewhere alone. Skaters have claimed the newly frozen bog. A quiet area populated by birds and dog walkers has been transformed into a winter playground. The snap of hockey sticks and excited chatter will dominate until the inevitable thaw sends out a call that it’s safe for wildlife to return.
We may never know the true story of the solo swan, but I’ll remember him because he opened a new door for me. I wanted to take his picture, but my phone lacked the zoom capability. I’ve been resistant to using a camera because my phone is so convenient, but I’ve decided that it might be time to branch out and try something new. Frank has a relatively simple small camera that he’s happy to have me use. In the meantime, he has shared a photo of the solo swan that he took that day during our walk on the bog.