Saturday, March 16, 2013

Swans on the Lake, Fire in the Forest

The past few days have been hectic and not a lot of fun. While continuing my medical workups for knee replacement surgery I have been trying to fight off the creeping crud. A few hours ago, a wildfire abetted by low humidity and high winds destroyed an apartment complex a few miles away. So far it seems that everyone evacuated safely; I certainly pray that is the case.

For now, though, here is a positive note from Nature. On this Saint Paddy's Day Eve, we finally saw the return of a pair of white swans that my wife and I consider to be "ours". They were sailing the large lake near a medical building a few miles from our home. We hadn't seen them since last fall, and have missed them.

I am just about 100 percent certain that they are Mute Swans, given their large orange bills. I read in "All About Birds," a service of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, that this kind of swan is not universally welcomed. It states as follows:

"A native of northern and central Eurasia, the Mute Swan was introduced into North America to grace the ponds of parks and estates. Escaped individuals have established breeding populations in several areas, where their aggressive behavior threatens native waterfowl."

Hmmm. Well, maybe that is the case in some turf wars, but in all our observations of this pair, they have been peaceful. And they have co-existed with other waterfowl, including ducks, egrets, and (I believe) an occasional loon. Moreover, they do not even seem to mind when Superdawg comes sniffing pretty close while we are walking.

Most of all, they indisputably are gorgeous. I suppose if they over-populated the ponds and lakes, they might not be such a pretty sight. But we feel blessed to have this pair to enjoy, amid all the other stressfulness of life.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

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