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May 17, 2012

Pacific coast cygnets

Photos by Don Flucker
MMute SwanM
Cygnus olor

My old acquaintance, from his Ontario days, Don Flucker, took these photos of Mute Swans near his home in Ladner, British Columbia.   Don has forwarded Mute Swans pictures before, but these are the first that show so many cygnets.   There were nine of the dear little creatures with their parents when Don captured these images.   Female Mute Swans usually lay 6 to 8 eggs (as many as 11), which is normally a couple more than most other breeds of swans.   Predation of cygnets is a problem for all swan types, but Mute Swans are the most active and fearsome in defence of their nests and young.   Don says that this same pair of Mute Swans started out last year with six cygnets but only two made it to maturity.   Don also mentioned eagles and seals, in particular, as predators of young swans.   When it comes to collective nouns to describe a group of swans there are many choices, far more in fact, than for just about any other bird species.   Take your pick from the following list: ballet, bevy, drift, game, herd, lamentation, regatta, school, team, whiting, or bank (on the ground) and wedge (in flight).   I think I'm rather partial to 'a drift of swans'.   It conjures up such a peaceful image.
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