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.