Saturday, 19 November 2011

Auguri! La nascita di cinque cigni! or the unlikely birth of 5 Black Swans in November

After hitting the "post"button for the blog yesterday, I left the apartment to gather Emma at school.  Making our usual after-school visit to the swans, we saw the male strutting about the makeshift house, occasionally honking and spreading his wings regally, and the female inside settling, shifting, settling, making twitchy movements - very odd.  And then I saw a little head poke out from underneath her wing.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  When we returned this morning, it was official.  5 baby chicks, two unhatched eggs (one which they have already rolled out of the next so I guess that one is a dud, the other remains in the nest, so I assume there is still hope).  Evie has been singing "I'm almost hatched!  I'm almost hatched!" from the book Antartica Antics.  Emma has been drawing pictures of swans on everything.  You can't walk about for someone telling you to go up to the lake to see the babies.  Its really something special. 

Friday, 18 November 2011

Il Cigni Nero, or, the Black Swans

There is a man made Leggatto in Milano Due with ducks, geese, turtles, koi fish, one pelican, and a pair of black swans.  When we first arrived, one of the swans died.  It was big news.  Everyone talked about it. I didn't know much Italian at the time, but "Cigno" was one of my first words.
Some months later, another female swan was introduced, and I can only assume they hit it off, because the lady swan recently laid 6 eggs.  Eve and I were passing by on bike one sunny afternoon and the lady swan was standing around awkwardly near the sidewalk.  On our way home, twenty minutes later, she was standing next to a rather large egg.  The male swan was frantically pulling up grass and throwing it in the direction of the egg.  He too seemed to be just as surprised that she just happened to drop an egg next to a busy footpath. Without having a nest built. With winter a short time away... A few hours later and the male sawn had managed to amass enough grass to make a hastily built nido (nest) and  another 6 eggs were laid.  Within a week, someone had built a crude little shelter and put it over the nesting swans. 6 weeks have passed and it is really cold now, even for my Canadian sensibilities, so I am not sure what will happen. When you walk past them lots of people look at each other and say "Speriamo!!!"  ("We hope!!).  Truly, it is a bizarre occurrence (which is where the term Black Swan Event comes from, I suppose) and one that has filled us all with hope.  We visit them every day, so I will keep you posted!!
Early October
Middle of November