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? *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.