Mellow Swans

Aki stands staring at two trumpeter swans that feed in a sliver of open water on Moose Lake. Her tail is up but she doesn’t bark. The swans, only a meter away from her, continue to search for food in the calm manner they showed when we first spotted them.

            A screen of alders prevented me from seeing Aki approach the swans or I would never have let her go so close to the tired looking birds. I would have kept closer tabs on the little poodle-mix if not distracted by a stream of water drops pouring off the beak of a third swan that swam a few meters away from Aki’s brace.  

            Because of their massive size, few animals prey on swans. Trumpeters are the largest waterfowl in North America. Their wingspan exceeds two meters. Humans could bring them down with a well-aimed shotgun but that would break federal law. This might explain why the much-hunted mallards usually fly off in a panic when we approach but swans just ignore us. 

            This morning a brace of mallards paddle tight circles around one of the feeding swans. The mallard hen gives me a hard stare, then returns her attention to the swan. The ducks must be feeding on scraps that fall from the swans’ beaks or eating food stirred up as the swans dredge the lake bottom with their massive beaks. 

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