Monday, February 2, 2015

Of Swans and Sunsets

The month of January came with its surprises - beauty in swans, sunsets and warm weather!  It was a double surprise to have looked out across the field several weeks ago and see some huge white birds enjoying the day.  Upon closer inspection and to my delight, discovered they were swans.  I call it a surprise as in all the years of living in Eastern Oregon and particularly in the John Day Valley, I have not seen a swan in the area let alone on our ranch property.  I have always loved swans, they represent to me such beauty, grace and symbolism of love.  Of course, this led me to do a post about these beautiful birds.   The photos below were taken from a distance with the camera zoom maxed out.  I didn't want to move in too close and frighten them away.  Consequently, some photos may not be the sharpest but I was thrilled to have such a camera opportunity and to share some pictures with you.

The swans flew in with a flock of Canadian Geese and appear to come and go as they please.  They show up for several days and are absent for a day or two and surprise you again by returning.  There were four swans originally, two adults and two 'adolescents'.  When the birds last appeared, they brought friends and there were seven swans at last sighting.

After checking my photos and investigating what kind of swan these could be, they appear to be a 'Trumpeter Swan'.  I came to this determination because of the slope of its black bill and the slight red color that is on the lower mouth part of the bill (mandible) on the adult swans.  The plumage of adult trumpeter swans is completely white, though their heads and necks are often stained a rusty color from contact with iron compound minerals in the soils during feeding.   I noticed that the sound of this swan was different from the geese they were with.  The Trumpeter has a deep, loud trumpet-like call and has been compared to the sound of a French horn.  Their bills, legs and feet are black and can weigh between 21 - 30 pounds.  The Trumpeter Swan is the largest native waterfowl in North America.

Other facts about swans in general....    
-  They mate for life.  A male swan is called a cob and female is a pen.
-  A young swan in the first year of life is referred to a 'cygnet or juvenile'.
-  An adult swan has a wingspan of more than 7 feet and a height of about 4 feet.
-  They can fly as fast as 50 - 60 miles per hour and are known as the largest flying bird.
-  Life expectancy in a protected environment is 30 years.
-  They are not known to attack humans without cause, and actually can remember humans that have been kind to them.
-  The word swan is one of the oldest names in the English language, coming from the Anglo-Saxons.
-  There are nine varieties of swans.

Some symbolic meanings of swans:
-  Peace and tranquility
-  Native American peoples - connected to one of the most sacred mysteries of the Lakota/Dakota religion, in which the swan acts as a messenger of faith.
-  In England - symbol of loyalty and strength.
-  In ancient Greece - symbol of beauty and grace.
-  Because it has domain over water as well as air, the swan is considered to be the Bird of Light and is associated with the dawning of the Sun.
-  Swans also symbolize sensitivity and love.
-  A reminder of blessings in relationships. 
There are many symbols to be found but the ones listed are a few of the most note worthy.  We can say with assurance, that swans have inspired art, music, literature and dance.

In closing, I am posting the above photos of a beautiful January sunset in a heaven of clouds and color above Mt. Vernon.  God's blessings came in varied forms and surprises that just happened to 'turn up' at The Turn-Up Patch.

Now that we are in the month of February, I look forward to unexpected blessings that only our Creator can bring to uplift, affirm and a reminder that He is the "I AM".

Until Monday, February 16..........

1 comment:

  1. this was such an unbelievable blessing! To me, the swan and the pelican are two of Nature's most magnificant birds. To have the swan fly in out there like this is one of those life experiences that make it all worthwhile! Thank you for sharing!