Friday Frivolity: Parenting Faux Pas.

I believe I’ve witnessed a few parenting faux pas and I want to write about them in this forum.

Ahem – I should probably make the disclaimer here that I’ve never been a parent.

Well, I’ve been a pet parent several times, and, when I had that special status, I know I was the ultimate “helicopter pet parent” as I was always hovering, always fretting about my two birdies … in this case my canaries. In fact, the kindly avian vet where I took Buddy and Sugar told me “Linda – just treat them like a bird – they don’t need to be wrapped in so many blankets to bring them over here – really, they are not as fragile and delicate as you think!” I nodded my head and said “OK Dr. Cook” but it went in one ear and out the other.

As for my own parents – they were strict and I toed the line. I knew what was expected of me and didn’t cross my folks as they always meant business. 🙂

I keep checking off items on that “Photo Birdie Bucket List for 2020”.

I’ve had a wonderful streak of luck fulfilling that “Photo Birdie Bucket List” since I first spotted that lowly hummingbird on Memorial Day. It was sipping nectar from a weed with pink, bell-shaped flowers outside the door. Happy to check “Hummingbird” off my list and determined that it should return and be an “outside pet” I got two small hummer feeders, some red ribbon and some packages of hummingbird nectar. I even sprang for a red bottle to put the nectar in and thought of a name, all reasons that would clinch having Homer hang around. He’s been around, the nectar goes down, but he’s camera shy … so far anyway. I’ll have to work on that, though sadly it cannot be accomplished with Nutter Butter cookies as Homer is not a pushover like the squirrels.

Good fortune was with me when I saw Mama Mallard and her 10 ducklings, then a couple of days later at Elizabeth Park I saw a cygnet. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I have spent many mornings along the Detroit River boardwalks, especially the small cove at Dingell Park where fellow walker Mike told me he always saw the Mama Mute Swan and her cygnets. Well, I saw many Mute Swans, just no swanlings.

The mental image I conjured up about a swan and her young that I would one day be lucky enough to see and photograph, was the likes of this very cute video.

But Nature does not always cooperate the way YOU want it to.

“Adulting” is no fun sometimes. I tempered my expectations a little about seeing and photographing a scene the likes of that fun swan video. In fact, my first cygnet sighting went more like this. The parents and their youngster were more than just social distancing, believe me. The other adult swan was so far away, I could not get it into the whole frame.

The trio was in the middle of the Detroit River and closer to the Canadian side, so the photos are not as close as I would like. I was watching from the boardwalk at Elizabeth Park. To be honest, I was aghast at the parents who were joyriding the waves without a care in the world for their poor youngster.

Meanwhile, Junior was paddling furiously along, those oversized, black, webbed feet trying to keep up with his folks. It was not easy for two reasons: 1) the wind kicked in while I was at the River (later, when I turned on the weather forecast I learned it was about 16 mph/26 kph); and 2) the waves were very high from all the boat traffic.

Unlike the Mama Mallard who was attentive to her youngsters that lined up obediently, never budging from the queue, or Mama’s side, or the Canada Geese parents, always fiercely protective of their goslings from the nest until they fledge, I was appalled at the lackadaisical way the Mister and Missus managed their only cygnet.

The youngster trailed behind them crying out with peeps and squeaks as it was rockin’ and rollin’ on the River. See that little beak open as he/she cried out.

Moments later, I was horrified to see the wave almost submerge this wee one. Imagine all the water ingested!

I stayed awhile and got these photos, hoping that the trio would come closer to the boardwalk, perhaps going into the small channel where the Pekin and Mallard Hybrid ducks hang out, but no, they continued floating down the River. Perhaps I should have reported them to the ASPCA?

P.S. – I previously thought this was shoddy child care, but the upside-down nest might have been a casualty of the wind and hopefully already empty.

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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38 Responses to Friday Frivolity: Parenting Faux Pas.

  1. I love the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor little thing!

    One of our girls made up words if she didn’t know the proper ones. We were living in England at the time, so she was about ten years old. Swans lived at the village pond, and she called their offspring swanlets and swignets.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Schaub says:

    I know Anne … Junior was paddling so fast and the waves were so high and every so often I couldn’t see him behind a big swell. As to the word “swanling”, fellow blogger Eliza used the term when she described seeing them during a run in a UK rural area. I had not heard the term before and Canada used/uses many words that are British, but when my parents took me to High Park in Toronto to see the swans, they likely would have just said “babies” or maybe we didn’t see them. I was just a kid. So I looked up the term to see if it we used it here in the U.S.; apparently we do, so I used it … I’m waiting to see if Ellie notices. I was happy to see this little guy, but was hoping to see the cygnets burrowing into their mom’s wings like the video … I’ll try again next year.

    Like

    • Eliza says:

      I’ve never seen burrowing. I hope you do… it makes me sad that there was only 1…. I really have to check out those in our park. I haven’t been there in a while (it’s been storming for a while).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, I thought it was cute the way they climbed under the Mom’s wings. Some ducks you see riding on Mom’s back (Merganser ducklings do this – I’ve seen photos, not in real life though). We are having very hot and humid weather for about 3-4 days and storms on Sunday.

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      • Eliza says:

        💕💕💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Ellie – I’m going to e-mail you a picture of a Merganser duck and her babies which I just saw on Twitter – you thought the baby swans burrowing was cute, as did I, but this is right up there too on the cuteness factor. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza says:

    Lol. You don’t see such things in real life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eliza says:

    I didn’t notice. For I just read it. They’re really called cygnets. But they’re also called swanlings. I just googled to check. It’s probably a newer word for those who couldn’t remember that baby swans are cygnets.

    Swanlets is adorable!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ellie – I sure don’t know who came up with the word “cygnets” to call baby swans. I liked “swanlings” when you used it and it doesn’t appear to be exclusive to the UK, so I used it. Well it makes more sense … you have “ducklings” for baby ducks, “goslings for baby geese” so why not “swanlings” for baby swans.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ally Bean says:

    Swanlets is a perfectly articulate way to describe the youngsters in your photos. It’s not easy being a swan, it’d seem.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Laurie says:

    Maybe poor parenting is the reason swans are so much more rare than Canada geese or mallards. If they only have one swanling at a time and don’t pay attention to it, no wonder we are not overrun with Mute Swans. I will look forward to seeing photos of Homer. I am sure you will be successful at “taming” him eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Laurie – I couldn’t believe how they treated this little guy and I could hear him on the shore as he kept crying and peeping as each wave overtook him. Our Mute Swans are considered invasive, not because there are a lot of them, but because they are so large they eat all the aquatic plants and reeds, leaving very little food for the ducks. I got a better look at Homer, close-up the other day. But I’ve only seen him from the back and he was flitting from one feeder to the other, even though he has been the only one out there, no others. I hope I get a photo of him before he migrates in the Fall (October they say that will happen).

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  8. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………………I’m delighted to hear that you have a “photo Birdie bucket List”…………………I would be disheartened also by the way Mr and Mrs. swan wasn’t even concerned about their baby “swanling”……..did you say??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, so far I’ve done well, a hummingbird, ducklings and a cygnet on my 2020 list. A fellow blogger from the UK used the word “swanling” – it was new to me, but it is used over here in the U.S. too. Disheartened is a good word for how you feel when you see the Mute Swan parents that far from their youngster and Junior almost drowned!

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  9. Joni says:

    Definitely poor parenting! When I captured my two mute swans back in Feb. I was surprised by how fast they could swim, I could hardly keep up with them. Poor little thing. The video was priceless…..surprised so many could climb onboard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes swans have huge and wide feet! You have no idea how big they are when their feet are underwater, but I’ve seen three Mute Swans climb out of the water and walking around on land and could not believe the size of their feet and when the one male was chasing me, he went very fast! This poor cygnet was scared and crying out so loud … felt so badly for him Joni. I loved that video, so cute and had hoped to see this happen, or at the very least, the cygnets surrounding their mom. Maybe next year?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Awwwww I have never seen a baby swan!!! SO cute!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, a “mini me” of its parents Diane ,,.. I just wished they would have slowed down and stuck with their little one. It was a rough passage for Junior. and they did not heed any of its “calls” for help.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sandra J says:

    That is the thing I liked most about your photo Linda, a lot of people don’t get to see baby swans. I have never seen one either. See, all photos bring a new picture to someone out there. I love all the names given by those in the comments especially the little girl names she called the babies. Swanlets and Swignets. So cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Sandra – I wasn’t sure about them as they were so far away. I thought it was interesting how scared the baby swan was. His cries and noises were loud and I could hear them, yet he was ignored by the parents. I’d have Googled to see why swans are distant and aloof to their young, but then you look at the video and the female Mute Swan who is known for taking her babies under her wings … so, what happened here?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sandra J says:

        I know, I don’t see swans enough to know a lot about them. I have not been down to see the ones that are down by the river since they were laying on a nest. Maybe when it cools down I will go see if they are still there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I hope you are lucky and get to see some cygnets like the ones in the video. I think as for Michigan that time is past now given the size of that cygnet, but I saw goslings last weekend that were very small, so I guess they don’t all have them at the same time. For the goslings/ducklings at Heritage Park, it does not matter when they lose their feathers as they always have a safe haven with no predators at Coan Lake …our Park has very little space for them. I’ve not seen a swan at Council Point Park in quite a while. You have a good day Sandra – I am headed outside in the heat and humidity – ugh. We have stormy weather later, not severe, but we now need the rain badly.

        Like

  12. I often wonder about birds and their parenting skills. They do have some strange techniques. I love the photos you captured – your clever words to go with your adventures always bring a smile to my day. That video is adorable, too, nice added touch to your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it Shelley – that video is what I hoped to see and this was a far cry from warm and fuzzy! Their seemingly abandonment of their little one made me scratch my head.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I enjoyed it. I’m amazed to watch animals and birds with their young. A mother deer by my daughter’s home placed her fawn twice in a bed of Hostas and then went off to eat on her own. She always came back, and the little fawn just waiting contently for her to return. Never a dull moment watching nature!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Every year at this time, the Metroparks put out an e-mail or post saying if you see a fawn that is on its own to leave it be and it is not abandoned, but its Mom simply hid it there to go off and get food for it and it is not an orphan. It was not eating the Hostas? My friend lives in a rural area near Rochester, NY. The deer come out of the woods and stop in her backyard – it is a good photo opportunity for Carol as she sees them munching on Hostas (their favorite) or any of her other perennials, raspberries, strawberries and tipping the birdfeeder over to lap up seeds. Never a dull moment and she says “why get my blood pressure up because if I fret and yell and scream and shoo them away, they come back a few minutes later anyway!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • The mamma deer are clever. For some reason the deer have only been using the hostas for shelter. They’re eating her day lily buds though. Weird. Your friends yard sounds like a great photo op place! I’ve been watching the two fawns of our wild doe across the field had this spring. They’re fun to watch play and run.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Every day my friend Carol posts more pictures of her plants that have been munched on by deer, usually leaving just stubs – all the bigger perennials and berry bushes. Every single day! I know her next-door neighbor just put up a privacy fence which Carol was not happy about, but perhaps if your garden is continuously a deer feeding grounds, you have to consider it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow – persistent deer. Strange, normally they find plenty to eat in the wild? I’d put up a fence if that was happening to my garden, or I’d give up on growing flowers and make it a rock garden. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  13. bekitschig says:

    Swans are strange and scarry. Maybe their style is survival of the fittest?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      They sure are Jeanine! A few years ago I was taking photos of a pair of Mute Swans in the Winter. I was a long way from them, in the snow just watching them. The bigger of the pair came over to the Creek bank and was making snorting noises – since I was taking pictures of it, who knew it was mad at me. I figured he was diving for plants in the icy-cold water. Next thing I knew he came up onto land and started coming after me! They are beautiful creatures but huge and I had no idea how big they were until I saw him out of the water. What you say is a good theory – all the nurturing I see going on with geese/goslings and ducks/ducklings and then this. SMH!

      Liked by 1 person

      • bekitschig says:

        Growing up I learned, when feedign ducks, always feed the swans first. Maybe it was my teacher in elemantary school … they always told us to stay away from the swans, otherwise they eat your fingers off, so grew up terrified of them. To this day, not a single person I know lost a limp to a swan. You never know … Mmh, maybe it was different times 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, swans are mean and they run fast … but Canada Geese can be pretty powerful too if someone gets too close to their nest, even if it is just the eggs and no goslings. A local guy was on a golf course a few years ago and walked by a nest, not even seeing the Canada Goose female sitting on it. The male Canada Goose went a little crazy and flew up against the golfer with such a force, that he knocked him down. Better to heed that advice – they got a lot of attitude.

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