7 Trumpeter Swan Cygnets at Milliken Park, Toronto
For the second year in a row, the mated pair of Trumpeter Swans that have taken up residence at Milliken Park in Toronto gave birth to a new set of cygnets…7 in all this past spring! Within a couple of days, Ashton and Tango, as they are fondly known, lost one cygnet to unknown causes, but the other six are thriving.
On this particular visit to the pond, Bob and I found the swans swimming in the easternmost end away from the noise and bother of Park visitors who aren’t always the most respectful when it comes to obeying posted rules. We watched as the young family slowly paddled their way towards us.
Of particular interest was a good-sized Snapping Turtle that lay on a log sunbathing at the edge of the pond on the far shore. We know that Snapping Turtles pose a threat to young cygnets and can attack from below as a cygnet swims on the surface.
It just so happened that the Trumpeter Swans were edging closer to the Snapping Turtle, and the cob, Ashton, was paying particular attention to the turtle where it lay sprawled on the submerged log. He challenged the Snapping Turtle, which we thought odd since at least where it lay, the turtle was no threat.
When the cygnets drew up behind him, the cob forced the Snapping Turtle to move off. That’s when I started to hold my breath. We were hoping that a cygnet would not be pulled under the water.
Thankfully the Trumpeter Swans swam safely away and came to greet us in hopes of getting some food. Per the posted signs, we did not offer them anything to eat but were happy to have a closeup view of their fluffy, white bodies and cute little faces.
The cygnets then resorted to their own means of acquiring some food and pulled up more nutritious freshwater plants that they were capable of finding on their own.
The blissful afternoon cruise continued for the Trumpeter Swan family when the cob and pen floated quietly further down the pond with the six cygnets in tow, some still clutching fresh vegetation in their bills. The swans were growing quickly and amaze us each time we see them with their newly-acquired skills and development.
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