Veteran's Memorial at Bittersweet Park in Greeley, Colorado. Photo by Darla Sue Dollman.
The evening I first saw the swans it was near dusk, which is why some of the photos have a colored tint to the water and on the birds, but they are always just gorgeous. Such graceful creatures.
Fossils of swans have been found in four states in the U.S.--California, Arizona, Idaho and Oregon--and their ancestry is believed to be at least 6000 years old. Mute Swans are also thought to be most closely related to Black Swans of Australia.
Baby Mute Swans are called Cygnets, and they are a gray color until they reach maturity at around a year old. It is shocking to watch their speed of travel--the babies can cross the lake in a matter of minutes. Surprisingly, they reach mature size at around three months old, but retain their gray feathers until they are closer to a year.
Mute Swans lay four to ten eggs and it's possible these swans are carrying more on their back, but I walk this park nearly every day and have only seen two.
The back of a parent swan is flat like a boat. Their wings rise up like doors on hinges and the babies climb onto their backs, then the adult lowers its wing, protecting the babies from rain, hail, cold, and the view of predators so they can sleep.