Sunday, 24 January 2010

Looking like part of the family

My injured cygnet friend looks like one of the family at the moment. He's a bit smaller and fluffier than any of the other five cygnets, and his wings are less developed, but he's with the family full time now as far as I can tell, and he's keeping up with them. His right leg must be getting very strong.

You can see how he carries the damaged left leg laid across his tail, keeping it out of the water when he's moving. It must just create drag.

The leg is clearly damaged lower down, so that while he can move the leg as a whole, he can't use the lower joints. I assume this is because the fishing line had reduced blood flow to the lower leg for too long.

The adults show the uses to which you can put a very long neck.


Denis Wilson said...

Gosh, I must be a softie.
I am still worried about this little guy's future - even from this distance.
Your Blog is doing a great job of telling the story.

Anonymous said...

Cygnets often carry a leg on top, the same as we will cross one leg over another when seated its a comfort thing.
I'm glad I found your blog and thanks a million for producing it. Since June '11 I have been full on studying black swans and love every item I discover on the internet.

Mark said...

Sorry Pat, if you notice this, Blogger didn't tell me about your comments until I posted them.

The little swan was clearly part of the same family, but "his" leg became tangled in fishing line which was subsequently removed. While he was tangled, and afterwards, he struggled to keep up with his siblings. He kept it out of the water because it was just a drag, and he learnt to paddle with one foot. If you follow the story through, he does manage to grow up somewhat, but I was unable to keep track of him eventually, and I suspect he wouldn't have survived. My last sight of him was of a pair of adults chasing him off "their" turf.

Anonymous said...

Fishing line seems to harm more than just fish!
My obsession with swan research began after seeing a cygnet with its neck tangled around a vertically suspended fishing line near my boat. While my neighbor rowed his inflatable to rescue it, the cygnets father started revolving his own neck in a clockwise, then anti-clockwise direction to demonstrate to the junior how to free itself. It copied dad and got free. That cygnet grew up and it was chased away like all cygnets are.
Cygnets living beyond a few weeks must count themselves lucky going by the death rate I have witnessed this season around Paynesville on the Gippsland Lakes. Foxes, Sea Eagles, humans, and territorial swans all contribute.