Today was the 3rd day this week that I have walked to Albert Park Lake purely to stalk the black swans and their Cygnets.
Today I saw 17 in 5 little family groups. I have been so impressed about how well these little ones are looked after. There always seem to be 2 parents with them at all times and they have always been together in their little group.
I was thinking that I had heard that swans mated for life and that they were very territorial.
These little families did seem to always be alone with their babies and not with other families.
I decided to do some research, as I do.
I found out 3 very interesting facts about Black Swans.....
1. Black swans are graceful birds and have good speed. They do fly fast for their size. They are one of the largest and heaviest flying birds in the world. The average speed is around 28 Km per hour but the top speed has been noted at 80 Km per hour.
2. Black swans also have very high longevity. Approximately 40 years. The swans are very heavy birds weighing between 8 and 9kg. They also have around 24 more neck vertebraes than humans.
3. This interesting fact is the one that has blown me away.
I just assumed that these little families that I was seeing at Albert Park Lake were the male, female birds and their babies.
This is the case in 75% of cases. The swans pairing for life with only an estimate of 6% separating.
However in 25% of all pairings, they are homosexual and mostly between males. It seems that they steal nests, or form a temporary threesome with females to obtain eggs, driving away the female after she lays the eggs.
I am not concerned about the homosexual facts but the poor mummas.
I to go back into my bubble and not know that the females were treated like this sometimes.
Scientists believe there is a biological advantage in this behaviour as it appears that there is a higher survival rate of survival for the cygnets raised by male-male couples than by male-female pairs. This may be due to the fact that there is an additional male to protect them.