Monday, June 23, 2014

WHITE SWANS 'DOWN UNDER'

In her Sunday Selections EC showed beautiful photos she had taken of kangaroos and black swans.  Mention was made that there are no white swans in Australia but in fact there are and here is where they live.
 The first white swans were introduced to Australia during the 19th century,  In 1896 the white swan was introduced into Western Australia by British colonists.  In the early 1900s, it is believed a Russian settler and the town's mayor, Oscar Bernard, introduced white swans to Northam in Western Australia.  Surprisingly the Avon River in Northam became the only place in Australia where the newly introduced bird survived and today it is still the only place in Australia where white swans breed naturally in the wild.


 There are about 80 swans on the Avon River and a new breeding programme is under way to help replenish the many aging birds.  The white swan became a protected species in 1950 under the *Department of CALM Wilflife Conservation Act.  This means it is illegal to remove a white swan from the wild, keep a swan as a pet or release a swan into the wild without the appropriate licence.  The swan is a protected species and in Northam they are cared for and watched over by local volunteer Swan Wardens.


The white swan (Cygnus olor) originated from Europe and Asia.  It enjoys eating water plants, fish, frogs, insects and a crustacean or two.  They can weight up to 15kg and will deliver a nasty bite and  whack with their wings if provoked.  When a male swan (cob) and a female swan (a pen) become partners they remain monogamous throughout their lives.  The female swan can lay up to twelve eggs during each breeding season and it take between 35-40 days for the eggs to hatch.


Though white swans in the northern hemisphere migrate to warmer climates during the winter months, in Australia (Northam) they stay happily along the Avon River.  This is due to the mild winter weather conditions and the abundance of food.


Many thanks to westaustralianvista.com for this information. Photos obtained free on Google search.




*NOTE:  The Department of CALM was originally the Forests Department of Western Australia where I worked for 12 years.  During that time it became Department of Conservation and Land Management, and, after I left, Department of the Environment and Conservation and is now The Department of Parks and Wildlife.  My daughter began working for the Forests Department back in the 1980s when we job shared.  At that time we were typists but she has moved on to bigger and better things and now runs her own publication section and makes a wonderful success of it.

6 comments:

  1. Beautiful things. And sorry, I didn't mean to say that we didn't have white swans. We do, but they are introduced, and mostly in captivity. I love seeing these living wild and free. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please don't apologise EC. I wasn't having a shot at you and of course you knew white swans had been imported into Oz. I just wasn't sure how many people knew about Northam's white swans so thought I'd share their story.
      It is a delight to sit by the Avon River just to watch them. A very good reason to perhaps head that way later this year. I just wish there wasn't so much traffic on the road these days and oh dear, those huge trucks frighten me.

      Delete
  2. They're so lovely, I really like that first photo with the baby on mum's back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are very beautiful and so different from our black swans. It is wonderful how well they are guarded and cared for.
      I thought you'd enjoy the hitchhiker in that first photo. Pure joy.

      Delete
  3. Hari OM
    Oh what a delight. Swans have been coming before a lot lately - have taken quite a few piccies myself just recently on Loch Lomond and Loch Eck... They are such elegant critters!!! YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hard to resist photographing such beautiful creatures isn't it? Sheer elegance. xx

      Delete