Sunday, 17 May 2009

A New Birth


Seven cygnets were born today by the river at the bottom of our garden. The two remaining eggs are still in the nest, but I doubt whether they will hatch now. Still, seven healthy cygnets is a very good number for a clutch. I’ll post a couple of videos I took this morning on this blog – it’s great to see the newly hatched birds tumble down the bank. See how the pen quickly comes to the rescue - and gives me a warning hiss for good measure!
Swans are marvellous birds - the pen lays one egg every other day until there’s a clutch of five to nine eggs. The cob stays nearby to help guard the nest and to look after the pen. It takes five weeks for the eggs to hatch. The young swans are born with their eyes open and when they dry off they become tiny bundles of fluffy down as you can see from my second video.
The cygnets break out of the eggs with a special nail at the end of their beaks. It’s very sharp, is called an egg-tooth, and drops off a few days after the cygnets hatch, Hopefully I’ll be able to take a few pictures over the next few days of the pen carrying her babies on her back. However the baby cygnets know how to swim as soon as they are hatched.



2 comments:

Mona said...

Bill, first of all I'm amazed that you got a shot of the swan rearranging her eggs yesterday, but catching this is equally amazing! So much fun to see them roll around getting their bearings, but they are strong for their first day out!

underthemagnifier said...

Hi Bill,
What a wonderful description of your day trip into the Hennerton Backwater! I must say however, that my favorite is the video of the cygnets leaving their nest! I watched it several times over, as it was simply precious! We also loved the video with you narrating, as we love and miss hearing your wonderful British accent!
Love and Hugs :-)
Rachelle