Papa and Mama



Meet the Swans: Precious/Marlika | Papa/Mama | Boy | Lady | Boulika | Tristan | Brothers


On this page: Nest Building | Nesting | Six Eggs! | Turning the Eggs | Hatching


Try the 20-Question Quiz about Papa and Mama


The second couple at the Lagoon (after Precious and Marlika) are Papa and Mama, so called because they are the parents of "The Baby".

  East view of Lost Lagoon, Vancouver, Canada

Papa and Mama courting


East view of Lost Lagoon, Vancouver, Canada

Papa and Mama are almost always together.


Most of the time, Mama comes to "the beach", to visit the Swan Lady in the afternoon but Papa continues patrolling their territory, marking the boundary between their part of the Lagoon and Precious' area.


Isn't she pretty?


You can see this picture full size on the Photo Gallery




Gathering reeds to build the nest.


You will notice blue mesh at the lower right of the picture: This is a plastic fence placed between the main path and their nest.


Swans usually return to the same location to build their nest, year after year.


Trying the nest for size! 


You will notice, from the size of his neck, that Papa (with the larger neck) is the one sitting in front. Also, look at the knob at the top of his bill: His knob is much bigger than Mama's knob, an easy way to differentiate a male from a female.


Quite a mouthful (beakful?)


A lot of work!



Ready at last!


The nest is ready and Mama will spend from 35 to 42 days incubating her eggs (longer, if the eggs fail to hatch). During the time on their eggs, female swans (pens) do not eat much, only taking occasional breaks to swim and eat when the male (cob) sits on the nest for a while.


Six eggs... but only one or two will hatch.


Checking the eggs.


Turning the eggs.



From a different angle (and see the zoom below)



Zoom - See her head upside down under the egg on the left


These are remarkable pictures of how a swan turns the eggs in the nest: See her head, upside down under an egg; it takes all her strength to nudge and lift an egg. They need to be kept warm at an even rate during the entire incubation, so Mama Swan is kept busy, when not actually sitting.


And back, sitting on the eggs for a while longer.



The birth of The Baby.


To see pictures of The Baby growing up, from this moment up to adulthood, click on The Baby's page.

  Mute Swans Quiz

20-Question Quiz about Papa and Mama

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Photos courtesy of Fiona Sinclair

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Hi Ben: You are very welcome. Male swans usually build the nest, but since it is mating season and the female will drop eggs (with or without a male), it could still be a female trying to nest. If..
Re: Male swan mean to female swan  by: The Regal Swan
Hi Teresa: The swan pictured is a Trumpeter Swan, the largest of all swan species and the most defensive. In fact, it does not belong in Maryland, but federal and Maryland state wildlife officials..
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