Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Local Maternity Ward

 That is momma swan on her nest. These are not small little things.  They are quite "deep" and have a large circumference.  It can take momma two to three weeks to build her nest.

This swan has chosen her location well.  She is on the offside of the canal and she has water on three sides.

This little "island" will be her world for the next couple of months since it can take a week or two for her to lay all her eggs and then 6 weeks for the eggs to hatch.

Swans can lay and hatch up to 10 eggs at a time, laying an egg every twelve to twenty four hours.  They mate anytime between March til May and the babies are born between May to July. 

If, for some reason, the first clutch of eggs is lost (predators, weather, flooding, etc.) it is possible the swan may start over and lay another clutch of eggs.

The male is also able to sit on the nest to allow the female to eat.  And, if something tragic happens to the female the male will hatch and raise the babies independently.

All the swans in England and Wales are the property of the sovereign and it is a punishable offense to harm a swan or to interfere with a swan's nest in any way.  That is not an idle threat.  People are prosecuted every year.

This is what the babies will look like.  Aren't they cute!  I can hardly wait to see them with momma as they grow up.  
They will stay with her for six months.  At that time they will leave and attach themselves to a group of swans that they will live with until they are four and fully matured.  Then they will begin raising cygnets of their own.

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