Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

Trumpeter Swan Cygnets Growing Up At Scarborough’s Milliken Park

Trumpeter Swan Cygnets Growing Up At Scarborough’s Milliken Park

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It has been two weeks since Bob and I first spotted the two Trumpeter Swan cygnets at Milliken Pond, and they seem to be thriving.  We dropped by the park a day ago to check on their well-being and were thrilled to see them paddling along with nary a care in the world.

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There was a momentary feeling of panic when first we approached the pond for none of the swans were anywhere to be seen, but that fear was soon allayed when a flicker of white plumage drew our eyes to the calm water at the easternmost end of the pond.  The Swans were lingering in the shadows of the very tall bulrushes, but their brilliant white feathers gave them away.

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We observed them from afar on one of the sandy points provided for such observation, and after a prolonged period, the Trumpeter Swans seemed to take notice of us standing there on the shore.

trumpeter swan - female - with two cygnets at milliken park - toronto

Given that, in the past, other park visitors have been seen feeding bread to the Swans, I am sure that is why the birds drew close to us in hopes of a free and easy meal.  We were glad for a closer look at the trumpeter swan cygnets, to see how they are growing.

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There is quite a difference in their overall size from two weeks ago.

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And as the Swan family toured the pond next to the largest observation deck, it was satisfying to see the cygnets energetically ducking below the surface in search of food.

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I had a clear view of the cygnets nibbling the plants in the shallow water and thought that my camera would capture that, but I foolishly forgot that my polaroid sunglasses were affording me the view below the surface; the camera couldn’t do the same.  Because Trumpeter Swans do not dive as ducks do, they bobb upended on the surface and use their long necks to scope out the bottom and weeds of a body of water before putting in the effort to stretch their necks and reach the desired food.

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Trumpeter Swans eat a variety of aquatic vegetation that includes the leaves, tubers and seeds of several types of pond weeds.  Amongst those eaten are pond lilies, sedges and widgeon grass.  Because the trumpeter swan cygnets require a higher level of protein during the first few weeks of growth, they also consume aquatic insects and crustaceans.

trumpeter swan cygnet at milliken park - toronto

This little cygnet was happy with his efforts.

trumpeter swan at milliken park - toronto

For a brief period of time, the mother swan retired to a sandy point where she put some significant effort into preening her feathers.  The cygnets were dabbling nearby while the male parent busied himself in search of food just offshore.  The pen was diligently overseeing her cygnets the whole while, throwing an intermittent glance their way at regular intervals.

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A hushed honk from mother had the cygnets rallying to her side where they set themselves to the task of preening as well.

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At times, the two seemed to teeter as they stood up or flexed their wings, and they are oh, so cute.

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The afternoon was extremely hot, hazy and humid so when this cygnet hunkered down for a snooze, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea.  We are so happy that the family is getting on so well at our local park.

For more information about Trumpeter Swans in Ontario checkout:

The Trumpeter Swan Society – Ontario Working Group

The Trumpeter Swan Society (TTSS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to assuring the vitality and welfare of wild Trumpeter Swan populations.

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Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

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