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Was your childhood like mine where you watched swans on TV and even got to see one in real life, but never got to understand exactly what kind of animal it is? Like, is it a sea animal, a bird, or even a what exactly? Because I know I have once seen it fly even though it wasn’t too high. And then I have also seen it swim quite far and sometimes deep. So don’t blame me when I couldn’t figure out what exactly it is. But in this post, I’m going to answer the question about what type of animal a swan is. I have already made my own research and found the answer, so I want others who were like me to also find answers too without stressing their head.
What Animal Is A Swan?
Simple, a swan is a bird. A flying bird for that matter, which is also one of the heaviest. Left for me though, a swan really seems so much more than just a bird because when a swan flies, it reveals so much strength, balance and charm. And when it’s coasting through the waters, it looks as if it is the ruler of the waters. I don’t think there’s any other bird like it. The beauty of a swan is not only in its elegance but also in its expression of strength. No wonder some noble families usually choose the swan to be their escutcheon (a shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms).
The Swan As A Bird
The swan is a bird in so many ways and here are a few characteristics that make them one, and also some other unique things that still sets them apart and make me believe they are special:
- The swan has many physical characteristics like other birds which include the feathers, two legs and two wings, and a bill which serves as the mouth with which it feeds.
- The swans are also closely related to the ducks and the geese and they are generally classified under the waterfowl.
- The swan lay eggs too like other birds. The eggs are usually in an average of 4-7 in a clutch and can take about 34-45 days to incubate. But there is a special part of this incubation period that sets the swans apart from other birds; the male swans also helps in incubating the eggs! Super amazing if you ask me.
- And like other birds in its family, swans are highly protective of their young ones and can take the slightest threat to the lives of their young ones very aggressively. There is even a myth that they can break one’s arm during an attack, but that’s not entirely true for adults, may be true for little children though. Better not try to find out if I were you though. lol.
- The Swan also has an average life span of 25 years. This is quite on the high side for most bird species.
What Can Swans Teach Us As Humans?
Okay, while some might consider this a very weird comparison, especially as it involves a bird, you would be amazed at what these lovely creatures have to teach us when we take out time to understand their mindblowing behaviours. Here are a few that would teach us a thing or two:
1. Romance & Faithfulness:
Trust me, swans are one of the most romantic and faithful creatures ever created. They are also one of those rare animals that we humans can actually pick tips on been romantic or loyal to our partners. And yes, I have facts to back my statement up. Here are the reasons why I say so:
- The swans start their courtship as early as 20 months old even before they are ready to reproduce. They also cling to a single partner for the whole of their life and guard their mate jealously with pure love and loyalty. So are you thinking what I am thinking? lol! This is definitely a trait that seems to be lacking in some of us humans today. For birds such as the Swans to be able to imbibe the culture of having a life long partner without thinking about divorce or any other form of separation; raising cygnets after cygnets (baby swans), we should be interested in that as humans.
- Swans don’t engage in courting each other just for the fun of making love. They have feelings, feelings that come from knowing that wrong actions could hurt their partner in so many ways. When they finally get together as mates, they always build a legacy that will always stand the test of time. And this is something we humans can learn from today.
- A swan without its partner is usually known to be weak and prone to attacks as they feel like their world is no longer the same. They may not eat well and may withdraw a little from others. But when the mate is back, everything is forgotten and life goes on better than it was. They are stronger when they are bonded as a couple and the couples are stronger when they are bonded as a wedge.
- You may think that animals are supposed to be animals and maybe there is no need for any form of commitment. But no, that does not apply to the swans. They naturally stay true to each other regardless of the challenges they might face. Challenges ranging from finding the right materials to build a nest, ensuring that the young cygnets are protected from other animals who might want to prey on them, and even the male Swan (cob) putting his life on the line in defence of his family. We humans may do this, but I know some would hesitate in most cases.
- They get tempted too. Tempted to leave each other. Tempted to just drop everything. While this can be very rare among swans, it can occur as a result of the nest failure, as a result of the cygnets passing on prematurely (which is also very rare as they handle their babies with super care) or as a result of the male swan incapable of reproducing (which is also super rare and maybe just a few among black neck swans). But for humans, some of us just need a little mistake from the other party and we are out the door before a blink of an eye. Today, the swan’s lifestyle is letting us know that it is not always the ideal thing to do.
- The male swans are very romantic in many ways. They help the female swans sit on the eggs while incubating, and even when the egg is hatched, they perform in many ways to help take care of and protect the mother and baby. This is something the men of the human race can definitely learn from.
2. Teamwork & Leadership Skills:
Swans do have a leader in the wedge (what a group of swans is called). And when they are migrating, they work in teams to ensure that the migration is successful. The leadership position is usually rotated amongst the wedge during this event and so almost every member has the opportunity to lead. If they have a motto, it should be something along the lines of “every swan is a leader”. This makes the leadership role not to be something they will fight over or place pressure on someone when he’s tired.
While it is not entirely possible to always rotate leadership role among the members of a group of persons like the swans; leadership positions should be rotated amongst qualified individuals following a refined process.
3. Helping Each Other:
If you want to see creatures that help each other through thick and thin, you may want to look at the life of swans. Swans are great at helping one other, especially when injured during flight. They don’t abandon anyone in times of crises as they will always find a way to pull through anything together. They stick together as long as they are in a wedge together and do not attempt to migrate alone even as a couple. As humans too, we should learn to look out for one another so that no one feels left behind it neglected.
Yes, swans are birds with all the physical traits of one, but with a bigger psychological and emotional trait of humans. It might seem that the swans are just birds. But for a revered word such as “graceful” to be applied to these classic creatures, it shows just how peculiar their characters are, and how much we can learn from them.
What do you think?