Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Swanwatch (7)

Our swan family is still to be seen on Grantchester Millpond. And there are still six cygnets. They've grown to almost adult size but still have the grey-brown plumage of immature birds. Some time in the next few months they will grow beautiful white feathers of adult birds, though their beaks will retain the dingy hue for quite a bit longer.

And mother makes seven

The transformation may well have started for the young birds are beginning to moult, as are their parents. Quite soon the cob (the male parent) will start to chase the youngsters away as his thoughts turn to next year's family. 

Those long necks come in handy

Can I see a few white feathers peeking through?

The young birds then join with others of their generation and spend a few carefree years together. During this time they will seek out a future mate and begin the courtship process. They seem in no hurry, which is just as well since swans pair up for life - you need to be sure about these things! Breeding does not take place till the males are about 4 years old though the females sometimes lay their first clutch of eggs at 3 years.

Take care.


  1. I love swans ...didn't know about them waiting to mate ....great photos ...thanks for sharing.

  2. The colouring of the grey-brown plumage with the white is very pretty - a very unusual sight to me because we only have black swans here. They look almost fully grown! Love your snap of the solitary white feather!

  3. Like Angie I didn't know that swans had a few years of being footloose and fancyfree before mating though I did know that they mate for life. They are such lovely birds it's always a pleasure to see them.


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