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#124657 June 22nd, 2005 at 09:53 AM
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Carly Offline OP
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Well, we cut out early this afternoon - went down to the beach around 3:00.

We packed sandwiches, some potato salad, iced tea, etc.

We found a place to sit where we could watch a flock of swans -we haven't done that in a long time. Jeff and I were big swan fans for years, but it's worn off now.

Tonight was a thrill - here's part of the flock we were watching:

[Linked Image]

Swans do not breed until they are around 4 years. They mate when they're young, just like the Canada Geese, but there's no egg laying.

Cygnets are Juveniles after a year - they hang around in flocks then. Mated swans also join flocks when they are not nesting or raising their cygnets.

Those are mute swans - trumpeters do not naturally come to the city - but the swan at the end of this post has been tagged, as you can see. It would be interesting to know if the bird was brought here as an experiment or if he flew. I don't think they can fly with those tags on.

I do wish people would quit dickering with birds - they insist this is trumpeter swan territory - bones were found in the GTA - Greater Toronto Area; doesn't prove a thing, me thinks - they probably were here at one time - long before we were a city.

Mutes came here in the mid-century - 55, as I recall being told. They were a gift from The Crown so we couldn't turn 'em down.

Now, the do-gooder-bird-societies want get rid of them 'cause they're too aggressive. You'd be aggressive too, if somebody was oiling your eggs with paraffin so they couldn't hatch.

Here's a mute doing a triumphant shake - they always do that after they've told another swan off or chased a creature off their territory - a couple of the mutes were a bit aggressive with the other birds tonight. When you see them showing their wingspreads, you know they're after somebody:

[Linked Image]

This trumpeter is probably a juvenile - they keep them at the zoo until they're a year old, then they send them to the Wye Marsh. Then they set them free.

[Linked Image]

Like I say, I think this one was put here - I don't think it flew.

None of the mute swans were associating with the trumpeter.

Damn these people!

#124658 June 22nd, 2005 at 07:20 PM
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Those are beautiful, Carly! I have a question. Why would someone oil the eggs with paraffin to keep them from hatching? Are they using it as a form of birth control?

Dianna

#124659 June 22nd, 2005 at 07:56 PM
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The birds are just beautiful Carly. Thanks for sharing the pics.

Meg

#124660 June 23rd, 2005 at 08:24 AM
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Who put those kinds of tags on that bird? That looks like animal cruelty to me. Before I saw the picture I wondered what you could mean because I always think of the bands. I can't believe they would tag any animal that way. Especially a bird. Is that legal?

#124661 June 23rd, 2005 at 10:14 AM
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Carly Offline OP
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Well it doesn't actually cause the swans pain. But I guess the numbers are to tell them apart. This juvenile trumpeter most likely belongs to the Metro Zoo.

A guy who lives in our building is in the birders association as well as being in charge of plant life on the shoreline.

I've given the swan's number to him, so he can find out just why this bird is down here.

If this is some hoity toity's idea of an experiment, it's ridiculous. The Mutes will pick on the Trumpeter.

Oh yes - it's legal. In the 90's the conservation authorities were oiling the eggs of Canada Geese because the population of them in Toronto was too high. At the same time, they treated the mute swan eggs too. We see less cygnets each year.

I believe it was 1996 - I put up a big fight about it - published 4 letters in 4 different newspapers, one of them the Toronto Star.

The bird associations want the mutes out - they say the trumpeter is the native bird. Well, it's true - they are native to Canada. The mute was introduced.

And some birders insist that trumpeters once bred in Toronto - they probably did - long before it was a city.

This business with trying to get everything back to native species in plants and birds is ridiculous, I think. I really think municipalities could find something better to do with the taxpayers money.

I've asked that question in some of my rants . . . ha ha! I mean 'letters' to conservation authority, city hall, etc. What you get is a four page letter that more or less says we'll do what we want to do.

Native species my foot - if we're going to try to get all species that were hear hundreds of years ago, why don't we get a herd of buffalo and let 'em loose on Yonge Street?

Some swans and geese have been hatching clutches -a few do get by. At catfish pond, the people who have houses on the west side will not allow the conservation team to come through their property to get at the nests on their side - good for them!

Oh, I have so many swan pictures.

It started in 93 - the mania for swans. My daughter and I came across a mated pair with two cygnets. They were about 6 weeks old - just starting to take on that ugly duck look.

I was fascinated. I went down to the park the next night to show them to Jeff and there was only one cygnet left.

I phoned around, got books out of the library and informed myself about swans.

Oh, there I go again - I'm ranting on about my swans. I'd better stop - I get carried away with it.

#124662 June 23rd, 2005 at 10:15 AM
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Carly Offline OP
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Stay tuned - I'm going to find my cygnet pictures for you - I have some really good ones. The pair of swans we were following in the late nineties knew Jeff and I and let us very close to their clutch.

#124663 June 23rd, 2005 at 10:25 AM
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#124664 June 23rd, 2005 at 10:53 AM
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So cute pictures of the babies..
And great shots of them in the water..
First and third I think it was..
Great shots...
Thanks for sharing them Carly!!!

And geese are excellant watch dogs,
better sometimes, people expect the dog
to be a guard dog, they don't expect to
see a geese doing the job..
The wings on those puppies can really do some
damage to people when they want to..

Most are protecting something,
ie; nest, female,
territory...

#124665 June 23rd, 2005 at 05:10 PM
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Awwwwe.. so cute and fuuuuzzzy.. *wants to huggle them all*

Meg

#124666 June 23rd, 2005 at 07:24 PM
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Beautiful pictures,Carly thumbup grinnnn

#124667 June 23rd, 2005 at 08:48 PM
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Oh G-mom, I'd be looking for something to bite under those circumstances. I suppose there isn't anyway to make a law that says you have to have sufficient funding to finish a project before you start it. That should be a no brainer, but not anymore.

#124668 June 24th, 2005 at 03:26 AM
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Carly Offline OP
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Well, the Bird Man and I had a little chat today -he gave me about 25 pages on the topic of swans.

I gave him the number of the trumpeter juvenile along with my 3 jpegs - he's going to find out just what's going on - just what that bird is doing down here.

Our chat was amicable - he's a very resourceful person about plants. Mind you he's all 'native species' though. I guess I'm becoming that way too, 'cause I like to work with what's already growing wild on a lot.

But birds? Leave me boids alone - that's how I feel.

Yeah - a goose would make a good watchdog. Canada Geese are characters. They're great when they've got their goslings.


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