For those of you new to Pine Run, it seems a good time for you to be formally introduced to our swans. The “season” will soon be here for the annual swan watch and for them the “best time of the year.” For new folks, let me introduce them to you.
Their names are Coo and Honey. Their history here goes back a dozen years when we first came to Pine Run. They have been a colorful addition to life here and have given us some interesting and difficult times. Their adventures have been many. There is a story of drama, runaways, mayhem and murder! For some of us they are very special, and, with care from the staff and several Villagers, they have brought many interesting stories and excitement.
Coo, the male, must be about 15 years old, but we really do not know. Honey is about 8. I purchased her from a trusted breeder in Illinois and had her flown in to join our lonely male. We always hoped for them to have some cygnets and grace our pond with growing families. This will not happen, but each year the swans do their thing and try. Apparently the male had been neutered before being sold to us. I do not know the source of that bird but the female, I know, is fertile. We know that it takes “two to tango” but they do not know this and keep trying. It is in their nature to do what swans do in the early spring.
When, if ever, it warms up, you will, if you are lucky, see the swans do their mating dance on the pond. It is beautiful. They swim together side by side, rubbing their necks together, entwine them and they dive together. Mating is done under the water (shy). Honey will lay 4-5-6 eggs in the nesting area we provide for them (up top near the mail room entrance). Coo will work hard to make a nice nest and stay with Honey. They do take turns with the egg sitting but generally it is the female that does this – (surprise, surprise). Several futile weeks will go by and we will feed them up top in the nest area. When Honey appears too tired, we take the eggs away and they go back to life on the pond. Then the summer begins, but without cygnets. That is a disappointment. Some consolation is that the pond has snapping turtles in it and baby swans are a tasty morsel. Seeing that happen would be so hard to see.
So that is our routine. We hope you are fortunate and see the very lovely “Swan Lake” mating ritual. We try very hard to take good care of these birds and hope they bring you pleasure. If you are interested in helping with their care, please let us know.
— Richard and Alice Wetherill