Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Day 60 - On the Seventh Day of Nature

On the Seventh Day of Nature my true love gave to me Seven Swans a Swimming, 6 Geese a-laying, 5 Golden Eyes, 4 Calling Birds, 3 Brown Chickens, 2 Collared Doves and a Partridge on a board walk.

Seven Swans a-swimming

Hey everyone. I'm really glad that day 60 happens to be the seventh day of nature and the last day of 2014 as I get to cover a fantastic bird. Had this been my usual blog post I'd have called it Serene Swans.

If you follow my blog you'll know I'm doing my own take on the 12 days of Christmas. Today I haven't had to change the song. The birds in the first two photos are from Nosterfield Nature Reserve, the last ones are on the shores of Lake Windemere, they are really friendly and love being fed.

So here's some facts:

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

  • There are 3 species of swan in the UK, the Mute Swan (featured here), Bewicks Swan and Whooper Swan. There are 9 species worldwide and sadly 4 extinct species too. For more on each species see the Swans Sanctuary website.
  • Large water birds, their diet is mainly water plants, insects and snails.
  • Swans fly by having their neck extended and they use slow regular wingbeats. Typically they fly at around 20-30mph but can reach up to 60mph!
  • The UK population has recently gone up probably because this species has had better protection. It has a Green Status and there about 5,800 - 7,000 pairs in the UK.
  • They are royal birds! The Monarch has the ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, though The Queen only exercises her ownership around the Thames.
  • There is a traditional ceremony, the Swan Upping, dating from the 12th Century where swans are marked for the Queen. You can see a video about this on the British Monarchy website.
  • In Scotland and Ireland they were thought to represent human souls so killing them was thought to be very unlucky.

  • The mute swan has more vertebrae in its neck than any other bird - 23!
  • They are one of our biggest birds weighing around 20-42lbs for a male (cob) and 18-25lbs female (pen). They have a wingspan of up to 2.4m
  • The oldest known swan was 28 years old but they typically live for 10 years.
  • They are very intelligent and can remember who's been nice to them (or not so nice) so I hope these guys remember me :-).

There's so much to tell about these birds I could write much more, but if you want to find out more information here's some useful links

Swan Whisperer

RSPB - Mute Swans

BTO - Mute Swans

Swan Sanctuary

Well, that's the last one for 2014. I hope you all have a great night tonight - Happy New Year to you all and thanks for all the awesome support in 2014.

Hope you enjoyed,


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