Swans fly fine. They are not quite as elegant or controlled as geese as they rush through the air, but they do progress and they can go in a straight line. The swan tends to fly alone or with a mate and very occasionally in a small family unit. Often it will only fly to find a new nesting ground, or a new mate, and in the case of the swan in my story both. Or the young will fly to a new body of water when they leave their parents, at about two years of age. In other words, they only fly if they have to. They hum as they fly – is this a sign of terror? It’s quite something for a “mute” animal to make any sort of noise. It’s certainly a very different noise from the chatter that geese make as they fly: the geese sound joyous and almost like humans gossiping.
The Outwood swans flew away during the recent cold weather. We didn’t see them leave. One day they were there. The next day they were gone. We worried about how they were faring. Even the Ship Canal was frozen over in places.
Then one day, as the thaw began, he – we swore it was the adult male, Fendrak, - flew right over our house, looking as if he was heading for the mill-pond. We rushed over.
It must have been just a reccy trip. They’ve not been back since and we miss them. Our local wildlife warden reckons they may well come back – or at least the adult breeding pair. We hope so.
Or could it just be that Fendrak didn’t want us to see him land.
Swans are elegant on the water, passable in the air but landing is not their forte. They make rather a mess of it. They sort of skid on their feet and flap their wings furiously. You’d never want to be in a plane that landed like that.