Seven of our Mute Swan Cygnets returned to Lake Morton last week. Regular readers of my blog may recall my springtime posts about the cute little cygnets, so adorable as they sat in their nests with Mom on the day that they hatched. I finally got to see a cygnet ride on Mom’s back this spring, and it was such fun to watch!
Sadly, these creatures were snatched away from their nests and parents, sometimes on the very day that they hatched. The City of Lakeland removed the birds to protect the babies from the egg thieves that devastated last year’s chick population. This year the City built a “top secret care facility” to give the cygnets a better shot at life.
The City returned the first seven swans to Lake Morton in mid-September. It’s amazing how quickly the birds grew in just four months! The babies could have fit in the palm of my hand, and the juveniles are almost the size of their parents already!
It was thrilling to walk up to these birdies and realize that they were some of the same sweet babies that I photographed in the springtime. They still make the little “peep-peep-peep” sound that they did when they first hatched. Not surprisingly, they have bonded very tightly. They are their own family now.
The babies are very pretty with their silvery-gray feathers and bills. They won’t get their bright orange bills till they are a little older.
The other swans on the lake did not interact much with the new arrivals. I wonder if the parents recognize their kids after four months?
While these birds have been hand-raised by humans, their instincts are good in one department – when the cameras are pointed at them, they know to give the photographers a butt shot!
The swans are the symbols of Lakeland, beautiful icons of the region’s many lakes. I hope these juvies adjust to life at Lake Morton and grow to raise cygnets of their own.