Wed Mar 2023

Lonesome Cob*

Every April the eternal ritual is repeated. The female swan (the pen) goes on the nest, built in a shallow depression on the shore between the marsh and the pond. The male swan (the cob) goes, well, bonkers. He engages in all kinds of neurotic behavior.

Chasing geese is one such. Recently, I saw him chasing a goose in the air — in the air, mind you! It gave new meaning to the term, “wild goose chase.”

Compulsive eating is another. This cob has just spent the past few hours close to our shore with his head in the water, nibbling edibles from the shallow bottom. The telltale green on his neck gives him away.

One day, I saw him rocket through the air from the south to the north end of the pond — and I mean “rocket.” It was fast! What he was up to, I have no idea.

From time to time, the pen comes off the nest to eat, but only briefly.

This pair have been resident on the pond for three or four years, but have yet to produce a family, failing again this year. That’s not unusual. An earlier pair, here when we arrived — and we came to know them quite well — took four or five years to pull it off.

One fine day in April, seeing the cob alone in the pond, I ran out in the yard to see if he would come to me. Sure enough, as soon as he heard my call, he did a u-turn and paddled toward me at flank speed. He was hoping not only for a handout (whole wheat bread is his favorite), but also some company, some sympathy. I know, that sounds like anthropomorphism, but long experience has taught me otherwise. I talked to him for awhile, then took these photos.

The date was April 21, 2013, and the times as posted under each photo. These vivid photos are spectacular when viewed full screen. Click on any image, above, to open the slide show. Then click on the link below the lower right corner of an image to view it full screen (in a separate tab). You may have to scroll down a bit to see the link. Enjoy!