Ask the Swan Specialist

Lonesome Swan
Date: 5 July 2014

I live in Perth, Western Australia and have noticed a lonesome black swan living in a nearby park on the banks of our Swan River. I have seen it there for some months now and even though there are other pairs in the area this swan is never in the company of other swans. I was just curious as to what its situation might be, why is it alone and for so long?

I don't know its gender and I would judge it to be a full grown adult based on its size. It is often in the company of a small flock of Australian Black Ducks and a pair of Australian Shellducks- you would almost think it had lost its original family and found a new life as a duck! The ducks like to wait under a particular fig tree to gobble up the fruit as it falls to the ground. Though I have seen the swan stand with the ducks I haven't quite seen it eat a fig with my own eyes but it will certainly have a go at eating the lawn/grass (or something in the grass). Many dogs and children frequent the park, which don't seem to alarm it unduly (I have carefully walked right up to it, to which it gave a polite 'honk' but wasn't too inclined to retreat). It seems entirely at home with life in the park.

I don't know exactly how long it's been living at the park but I myself have been frequenting the area for the last few months and it has been there alone the whole time.

Is it a bachelor? Or a grandparent living out a quiet but lonesome retirement? What might we suppose it's story could be?