Swans

November 25, 2013

feeding swans girl outside egyptian geese mute swan uk outside exterior surrey green housepair of mute swan royal white swan england uk surrey outside driveway bricksfeeding swans girl outside egyptian geese mute swan uk outside exterior surrey green house feeding swans girl outside egyptian geese mute swan uk outside exterior surrey green house My parents live by a river and for as long as I can remember “feeding the swans” has been a part of daily life. Swans re-use their nests each year and also teach their cygnets to find food (as opposed to the babies stay in the nest and the parents bring them food) and so generations of swans have learnt that hanging around outside our front door results in food. Over the years canadian geese and egyptian geese (as seen here) have come to join the party. I’m particularly fond of the egyptian geese; they’re more timid than the other birds and have the most beautiful plumage (which I shamelessly tried to copy in my outfit).

Swans have an image of being regal and graceful, but a hungry swan on land is anything but: they waddle clumsily, flapping, hissing and honking noisily and fighting with the local cats, dogs, geese and ducks, invariably winning. Swans are very fierce and ours actually broke a ducks wing once which resulted in an RSPCA call-out. Whilst our swans eat from your hand that’s mostly because they’re so greedy they reach out to snatch food from your hand before you can throw it on the floor. Inevitably you end up with scratches on your fingers from their beaks but I like it; all animals are wild and there’s something inherently unsettling about tame animals who eat politely from human hands. I’m a supporter of animal rights and don’t believe in pets, so I love this kind of close encounter with animals especially when it happens on a daily basis! What wildlife do you have near your house?shiny skirt shiny shoes bronze metallic skirt goldfeeding egyptian geese outsidefeeding swans girl outside egyptian geese mute swan uk outside exterior surrey green housemute swan open beak outstretched food hungry *Whenever I refer to  “our” swans I am referring to the wild swans who my family regularly feed as their nest is in our garden. In no way do we own the swans and I am against the concept of owning an animal or a pet.

11 responses to “Swans”

  1. jessthetics says:

    I can’t believe you are feeding the swans! I am terrified of them! I went to uni at York, and the campus is just covered in swans and geese but I never got used to them, especially around spring when they go crazy. Feeding the ducks is a nice activity though 🙂 And the swans are very beautiful, just from a distance haha. Your gold skirt is really pretty, and are your shoes gold too? Because that’s pretty awesome! How come your against pets? I’m just curious, I think it’s bad to buy from breeders because they often don’t treat the animals well and the inbreeding leads to health problems, but I think adopting pets from rescue centres is okay xx

    • tapeparade says:

      Haha, they can be pretty fierce! I think I’m just used to it, the swans have been visiting up to 5 times a day for the last 13 years or so. I definitely kept my distance a bit more when I was younger! Thank you, and yes – they are actually the same gold shoes from the previous post! I’m just wearing them constantly. New Look sales a fortnight ago!

      Well for me the only “pets” that are possibly ok are some species of dogs and cats, as they have been domesticated over the last 10,000 years, with cats and some dogs humans have really altered the entire behaviour of the animal. But animals like hamsters, mice, rabbits, snakes, lizards, fish, birds etc I just think the idea of keeping them indoors is horrific. Owners have to create all these fake and artificial settings for the animal to exercise it’s natural behaviour (i.e. giving them sticks to chew on, live food for them to hunt, certain types of grass/straw bedding etc) or create weird environments so they CAN’T exercise their natural behaviour (don’t pair males so they’re not aggressive, separating families etc) and I can’t help but feel that an easier way to combat that is just don’t take them out of their natural habitat in the first place. I mean, what does the animal gain from the situation? For me it’s the same kind of selfish human act as eating animals, using them for food, using them for entertainment etc. It just makes me incredibly sad – it’s not natural to have them living indoors, or in cages, or just generally anywhere not that is not their natural environment. What do you think? I kind of follow the theories of Gary L Francione more than any other theorist.

      • jessthetics says:

        I mean I haven’t thought about this a lot, so these are just my initial thoughts, but I think for a lot of issues what is most natural isn’t what’s best. Like, I think it’s a tricky concept anyway and it doesn’t really mean anything, but also even if it were definable, it’s descriptive rather than normative. People might say that it’s not “natural” for humans to be vegatarian, and even if that were the case it’s irrelevant because we don’t use nature as a standard for morality. I think your point that keeping pets is a way of using an animal is interesting. I think I agree that the general attitude that animals are like a commodity that we can buy and sell and explot is wrong because it leads to a lot of animal suffering and mistreatment of animals. I don’t think that keeping pets is wrong in itself though if it doesn’t result from or contribute to this attitude (although whether that’s possible I don’t know.) It seems like a lot of pets do gain from being kept as pets – an individual rabbit is fed and kept warm and safe from predators as a pet, whereas in the wild the chances of it being eaten or dying from disease are pretty high. And pets often seem pretty happy! Also, it seems like part of the reason people have kids is because they want the experience of having children, it’s an important part of their conception of the good life, and they want a little person to be around so that they can help form them and cherish them and enjoy their company. I’m not sure people’s reasons for adopting pets are all that different. I’ve not read Gary L Francoince but maybe I should! (Sorry for leaving these super long comments on your blog!) xx

        • tapeparade says:

          Haha I like the long comments! It’s interesting to discuss! The word “natural” is problematic and I agree from a moral standpoint it doesn’t have any bearing. I guess ultimately, my ideal world is one where animals exist alongside humans in a way that is sustainable for both parties but that as far as possible, we have nothing to do with animals unless we are directly helping or assisting them. You’re right that a lot of pets do lead happy lives but like going back to the rabbit example, most rabbits in captivity have horrible childhoods because they’re prey animals and psychologically disposed to be terrified of humans so the “handling” process which is meant to make rabbits happier around humans does come at a price to them as they have to endure being scared in the first place which to me just seems really unnecessary (this is the same for other prey animals such as guinea pigs, hamsters etc who all undergo a lot of stress when first with humans). A house rabbit is never going to have as much space to run around and play as a wild rabbit, and although the rabbit isn’t aware of that it seems cruel to me to purposely deny the rabbit that for your own benefits. I mean, one of James’ housemates has a gecko and it breaks my heart because I love geckos and I see them in the wild in Mauritius all the time, and this gecko lives in a tiny box with no access to the plants, walls and trees it would crawl up in a normal wild situation. The gecko obviously doesn’t know and doesn’t care, and the gecko does bring pleasure to its owner etc without suffering any psychological trauma. But to me, it’s still wrong; it’s a wild animal and it should be in the wild. It’s biologically designed to be able to run up walls and grip onto trees and protect itself from predators, and it will never, ever do that in its present situation. But it doesn’t KNOW that, so you can argue it’s not suffering but is bringing happiness to somebody else, but I guess to me even though the gecko doesn’t know, WE know, and that makes the difference because we’re taking a living creature and using it purely for our own purposes. To me it’s an extension of the humans-as-selfish-bullies attitude that I talked about in my LocaVegan post, i.e. humans plundering the animal world for companionship and entertainment (and food and labour). I don’t know, just my thoughts! I hope you’re not a pet-owner and I’ve offended you as that wasn’t my intention with this post at all, hence I didn’t really go into detail! I’m glad you asked though as it’s interesting for me to discuss with somebody, and I’m certainly not well-read in ethics or morality in any significant way unlike you so I would benefit from reading a bit more broadly on the subject. XXXX

  2. winnie says:

    Oh I’d be so scared to feed the swans – I love that you’re so comfortable around them 🙂

  3. Liana says:

    This is so adorable, wonderful post and pictures hun! Amazing of you to feed them, they do seem quite fierce, especially in the last picture haha! I have kitties that I always feed in my home town and also a pigeon couple for a few years now, even buy them special pigeon food! ♥

    Liana x
    Dress Code Chic

  4. Harlynn says:

    I wouldn’t have thought they were so greedy! They’re too pretty haha.
    I love the pictures, the ones at the top crack me up (with the long neck reaching for some food).

  5. Edita says:

    Oh I know that they are greedy 🙂

    Also, loving that skirt!

    Edita
    http://www.pret-a-reporter.co.uk/

  6. You look so cute! I dig that golden sparkle.
    Thanks so much for the follow!

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