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 Created: 03/24/03


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Cygnus dadaneias

March 24, 2003 – Our Mute swans have become extremely aggressive now that breeding season has arrived. Recent physical attacks by our male swan, Little Big, started me thinking about how nice it would be if the Mute swan's nasty temperament could be transformed (through careful breeding, of course) into something much gentler, more like that of a Great Dane. Naturally, one thought led to another. I decided to produce my own hybrid species of swan, Cygnus dadaneias. I would much rather have a few of these lovely creatures floating around in our pond, instead of a pair of murderous, hissing maniacs.

Charlotte's Nest
A few days ago Charlotte began her laying cycle. Thus far she has produced two eggs. She will lay one egg every other day until she has a proper clutch of eggs, anywhere from 4 to 8.
She will then settle onto her nest where she will "set" for approximately 35 days, getting up only when she absolutely must for food and water. She will lose a lot of weight during the incubation period. Meanwhile her mate, Little Big, will be close at hand, ready to destroy anybody or anything that wanders too close. When Charlotte is off the nest, he will sit in her place. We haven't decided what to do about any of this. Stay tuned.

Swan Lake
As if we don't have enough "swan time,"
yesterday my husband surprised me by suggesting we visit Swan Lake, a very nice park located in a nearby town. And as you might have guessed, it is home to many types of swans, including Mutes. We arrived late in the afternoon. We were immediately greeted by large numbers of Canada geese, a few Mallard ducks, and some Black Australian swans. As we walked along the trails, we encountered Trumpeters, Whoopers, Whistlers, and Coscorobas. I have to say, they were all lovely – and so well behaved!

In addition to the six varieties of swans that we observed, Swan Lake is home to some Black-Necked swans (native to South America) and Bewick swans (native to Russia), but we never saw them. We were lucky enough to spot four Great Blue Herons, all nesting in the Bald Cypress trees. Co-existing nearby were dozens of Double-crested Cormorants. It was quite a day for this bird lover! I plan to visit to Swan Lake again in a couple of weeks, when the iris gardens are in full bloom.

March 26, 2002 – During the night, the Charlotte's nest was attacked by raccoons. They made off with her eggs and I am sure they had a very fine meal. Charlotte was not on her nest at the time, so she wasn't able to protect her eggs. The broken, empty shells were left under a nearby oak tree. Charlotte found them early this morning. She seemed genuinely upset
, picking them up with her beak and moving them around. Little Big was also disturbed. He seems to think "the humans" are responsible for the loss, so he today he was even more ornery than usual. He attacked me while I was at the swan feeder putting out corn and laying pellets. That's it. (Thou shalt not bite the hand that feeds you! ) This afternoon I composed an advertisement to sell the Mutes through the SC Agricultural Bulletin. Hopefully we'll find a buyer who knows enough about swans to give them a good home in a secure environment, where they can live happily without endangering people and other wildlife.

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