Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Black swans


Black swans on Lake Ginninderra.

Black swans are native to Australia, and European explorers and settlers were quite astonished when they first saw them, being used to the white swans of home. The breeding season in the south of Australia is from June to September, so the cygnet in this photo (taken in April) would probably be between seven and 10 months old - still quite grey and fluffy, but almost as big as the parent in the foreground. 

The black swan is featured on Canberra's Coat of Arms, representing Australia in its native state. According to the designer, he originally wanted to include two black swans as supporters in the coat of arms, but this device had already been granted to Perth in Western Australia, so one of them was changed to a white swan, representing European settlement.

If you want to feed the swans, please don't feed them bread! Bread attracts pest birds like starlings and mynas, doesn't have the nutrients required for healthy birds, and has additives that aren't good for them. Try taking along some lettuce, spinach or silverbeet instead.

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