New Orleans is a city with a variety of attractions. Bourbon Street’s strip and music clubs often top the list for visitors. But I live near City Park, a 1,300 acre public park within the city. Even though I mainly visit only a small portion, you’ll be amazed at the different kinds of birds I see practically on a daily basis. Canadian geese, barnyard geese, mallards, kingfishers, cormorants, even pelicans in the winter months. Swans are my favorite, however.
We had a nesting pair and a brood of cygnets before Katrina, but none since. It’s hard to tell the males from the females, except the males are somewhat bigger. Notice how this one glares at me – probably because my dogs are too close.
Swans are large, fierce birds you don’t want to mess with, especially when they have a nest. There’ve been a couple of nests built and tended to in the last few years, but no cygnets. Not sure whether predators (racoons, nutria-big rat-like critters) get the eggs or pollution prevents their development or other problems.
I understand swans mate for life, and the saddest thing I ever saw was a lone swam swimming through the lagoons after Katrina flooded the whole area, calling and clearly searching for other swans. These are so-called mute swans, but sometimes you can hear their call – like a soft shriek. A few months later, a donor from Texas gave the park two white and two black swans.
Only one black swan remains, so far as I see, and she was hurt by some vandals who destroyed her nest and eggs (haven’t seen two black swans, but somehow she produced eggs). Named Amanda, the swan is recovering at the clinic of our bird vet, Dr. Gregory Rich. She’s going to be fine. http://newsle.com/article/0/58611741/ This link connects to a picture of her.
Two white swans remain as well, and this week I saw one of them building a nest on a small island in one of the lagoons. Will keep track and post pictures as things develop. Cross your fingers; we might have more cygnets.
Don’t you wish you lived in New Orleans?
P.S. The weather today is clear, sunny, and 64 degrees.