Friday, February 02, 2007
Twice now I have looked out at the lake and seen only ripples from the wind. The parade of regal graceful swans has ended. The absence of seven large white swans has created an unfillable void. After their leave-taking, I did take pleasure in the antics of the 35-50 wild diving ducks. But this morning marks the second time they, too, have flown off.
For a couple of weeks before they left, I watched them pair off: two here, two there, and another two yonder. And then the sad leftover swan (seven divided by two leaves an obvious and sad one). This "odd" swan had once been a member of the family but was now an outcast. The Boss, the daddy swan, chased her (or him?) away every time she came near. The babies were now grown and this process of pairing off was expected, since swans mate for life. My husband and I debated whether the leftover outcast was a male or female. He thought male but I reasoned it must be a girl because a male would have been more combative with The Boss and would probably have taken off to find his own mate.
Their going wasn't totally unexpected. Last year the few that were here left around the end of January, despite the sometime twice daily feedings of corn by several residents. Yesterday I spied one pair in a more remote lake half a mile from here. Obviously, they wanted their privacy through the mating season. Last year, one pair nested there, where it was safer, and in April were seen leaving with five babies, accounting for the magnificent seven that returned here September 1.
There are now seven that consider our backyard their home lake. I wonder how many will return next year?
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