We live very near a large communal park pond, so are used to seeing waterfowl. I am not afraid of the mute swans, but I do respect them, as their heads are on a level with mine when they stretch their long necks.
I'll tell you about an adventure we had with a big male a couple of years ago, but first I'll show you 'our' swans.
They've had a mild winter this year, so we haven't had to feed them up, but they've got good memories and know that we feed the birds. So every day they waddle up to our garden gate and see if there is anything tasty within their reach.
This couple has been together for years. They like the birdseed which has been scattered by the doves, who are very messy eaters.
It's a pity there is no soundtrack with these photos, as they were both making noises to me: a mix of hisses and fluting sounds.
Viggo, big butch tom that he thinks he is, felt the need to show them that he comes first in the Koopman food chain. But the swans weren't impressed.
Right. The Swan Tale. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
Some years ago, in the Springtime, a lonely male mute swan was trying his wings over the pond. He was young, he was looking to show off to the females in the pond, and he had been circling for quite some time.
I don't know what happened exactly, but what I do know is that my neighbour was just coming out of her front door to pick up her kid from school. And our show-off swan misjudged his pass over our roof, and flew slap-bang straight into their gutter with an almighty crash, lost it, and fell onto the head of my neighbour. Who screamed loud enough to make me come running to see who was killing her.
She was on the ground, with the unconscious swan on top of her, and practically hysterical. But unharmed.
I ran to get my husband, who lifted the swan, and took it to our back garden, whilst I helped my neighbour. She was okay, and quickly left for the school, and I went to see what was happening with the swan.
Theo had put it on the garden bench, and we debated whether to call a vet, or the special 'bird lady' we know in a village nearby, and who has helped us out with injured birds before. But the swan opened one eye, and then opened the other eye, and looked at us. So we decided to leave it alone for a bit, to see what it would do.
Within half an hour it sat up, and sat very quietly on the bench for another 15 minutes or so. And then it hopped onto the ground, and took a leisurely tour of the garden. When it passed the gate, I opened it, and the swan walked out. His head was as high as mine, and as he passed me he looked me straight into the eye and mumbled something. I like to think it was 'thanks, bye'.
|C Wibe Koopman Photography|