Swans Through the Seasons
Molting season is well under way at Lost Lagoon and our beautiful swans are beginning to look a bit tattered. This, combined with ring around the collar and browned heads from diving for food from the bottom of the lake has given some of our proud fleet a distinctly “rakish” appearance!
Swans molt because their feathers wear out and need to be replaced by new ones. Sometimes the females molt before the males. If swans are breeding, this ensures that the male will still be able to protect the nest and young (in the case of flight-enabled swans).
Molting lasts about six weeks, then feathers slowly begin to grow back and a swan is his or her usual gorgeous self by autumn when the weather begins to cool.
Even our lovebirds Tristan and Isolde are more preoccupied with trying to preen themselves back into shape than “making hearts” these days. Earlier this week, the two retired to a rock near the northeast shore for a rest and a bit of grooming. (Notice loose feather hanging from Isolde and Tristan’s shortened tail!)
A worried visitor recently called in: “Has something happened to one of the swans? I saw a whole lot of swan feathers all in one place!” We were happy to reassure her the feathers left the swan of their own accord. Now, swan feathers pop up all around the lagoon, and are only outnumbered by drifts of Canada Goose feathers but we won’t mention those!