Papa and Mama

 

 

Meet the Swans: Precious/Marlika | Papa/Mama | Boy | Lady | Boulika | Tristan | Brothers

 

On this page: Nest Building | Nesting | Six Eggs! | Turning the Eggs | Hatching

 

Try the 20-Question Quiz about Papa and Mama

 

The second couple at the Lagoon (after Precious and Marlika) are Papa and Mama, so called because they are the parents of "The Baby".


  East view of Lost Lagoon, Vancouver, Canada

Papa and Mama courting

 

East view of Lost Lagoon, Vancouver, Canada

Papa and Mama are almost always together.

 

Most of the time, Mama comes to "the beach", to visit the Swan Lady in the afternoon but Papa continues patrolling their territory, marking the boundary between their part of the Lagoon and Precious' area.

 

Isn't she pretty?

 

You can see this picture full size on the Photo Gallery

 

NEST BUILDING SPRING 2003

 

Gathering reeds to build the nest.

 

You will notice blue mesh at the lower right of the picture: This is a plastic fence placed between the main path and their nest.

 

Swans usually return to the same location to build their nest, year after year.

 

Trying the nest for size! 

 

You will notice, from the size of his neck, that Papa (with the larger neck) is the one sitting in front. Also, look at the knob at the top of his bill: His knob is much bigger than Mama's knob, an easy way to differentiate a male from a female.

 

Quite a mouthful (beakful?)

 

A lot of work!

 

NESTING APRIL AND MAY 2003

Ready at last!

 

The nest is ready and Mama will spend from 35 to 42 days incubating her eggs (longer, if the eggs fail to hatch). During the time on their eggs, female swans (pens) do not eat much, only taking occasional breaks to swim and eat when the male (cob) sits on the nest for a while.

 

Six eggs... but only one or two will hatch.

 

Checking the eggs.

 

Turning the eggs.

 

 

From a different angle (and see the zoom below)

 

 

Zoom - See her head upside down under the egg on the left

 

These are remarkable pictures of how a swan turns the eggs in the nest: See her head, upside down under an egg; it takes all her strength to nudge and lift an egg. They need to be kept warm at an even rate during the entire incubation, so Mama Swan is kept busy, when not actually sitting.

 

And back, sitting on the eggs for a while longer.

 

THE RESULT: HATCHING, MAY 18 2003

The birth of The Baby.

 

To see pictures of The Baby growing up, from this moment up to adulthood, click on The Baby's page.

  Mute Swans Quiz

20-Question Quiz about Papa and Mama

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Teachers: You may wish to keep score of the 'Tries' and 'Correct' answers.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Fiona Sinclair

Visit our gallery of pictures

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