Amateur Springwatch : Swans and Cygnets at Foxton

A small flotilla of swans and cygnets, near Foxton Locks yesterday – 



A large brood here (eight).  The parents’ (I’m being presumptuous) heads swivel from side to side, on the lookout for danger, like American secret servicemen escorting a President. 

Some interesting facts (well, facts anyway) about mute swans – 

  • They cannot break a man’s arm with one beat of their wing (though I wouldn’t like to test this by experiment).  This myth has been refuted by Gustave Flaubert and George Orwell, amongst other eminent authorities.  Nonetheless people continue to believe it.
  • They do not sing one beautiful song before they die, having been mute all their lives.  On the other hand, if it were not for the persistence of this myth, we would be without many beautiful pieces of music and poetry.  We should encourage belief in it.
  • They are rarely, if ever, known to have been killed and eaten by Lithuanian immigrants.
  • They are monogamous.  Unlike ducks.
  • Julius Caesar reported that the Ancient Britons regarded eating swans as unlawful.  A remarkably persistent belief (surviving nowadays in the form that they are all owned by the Queen).
  • Graeme Swann, the Northampton-born off spinner, is far from mute.  Don’t know about any other resemblances.

2 thoughts on “Amateur Springwatch : Swans and Cygnets at Foxton

  1. What a useful man you are! My life has been dogged by the misinformation listed above and a weight has been lifted. My cousin has eaten a swan and said it was indistinguishable from goose. I look forward to Christmas.

  2. Glad to be of use, WH. I don’t think I’d actively recommend trying to eat one of these swans, though. You might not find yourself in the Tower, but you would find yourself in the Harborough Mail (“It’s perfectly normal where I come from!” she claimed …)

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