Posts tagged ‘Swan’

How does a duck keep dry in the water?

Duck

A duck’s feathers are made water-proof by oil from a special oil gland near its tail.

A duck is able to deep dry while swimming because its coat of closely packed feathers is actually waterproof.

A duck’s feathers are made waterproof by oil from a special oil gland hear the duck’s tail, which the duck rubs on its feathers.  Oil and water will not mix, and so the water will not soak into the oil-covered feathers and the duck keeps dry.

A duck or any other water bird that covers its feathers with oil, such as a swan or a goose, will sink in the water if the oil is removed.

A thick undercoat of down helps keep the duck warm in icy waters.  A duck swims by paddling with its webbed feet.  A baby duck does not need swimming lessons.  It knows to swim as soon as it hatches from the egg.

The mother duck leads the baby ducks to the water as soon as they are able to travel.   The ducklings cannot fly for six weeks or more after they hatch.

Though a duck can swim with easy grace in the water, it waddles clumsily on land.  It is hard for ducks to walk because their legs are short and placed so far on the body. – Dick Rogers

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Do swans sing only when about to die?

Swan

No.  the saying that a swan sings only when it is about to die is a myth.  This old idea came from the ancient Greeks, who believed that these graceful water birds were creatures of Apollo, the god of music.

Fabled as being voiceless during its lifetime, the swan was thought to possess the special powers to sing a song of great sweetness at the moment of its death, as a tribute to Apollo.

The myth has been memorialized by poets and composers for centuries.  Even today, an artist’s farewell performance or last piece of work is often called his “swan song.”– Dick Rogers

How did the mute swan get its name?

Swan

The mute swan is a large, graceful water bird with a long slender, curving neck and snowy white feathers.  Mute swans are the kind most often seen on the ponds in parks and in zoos.

The mute swan does, however, hiss when it is angry and makes a low “barking” sound when calling its young.

The male swan is called a cob and the female a pen.

Her brownish-gray bales are called cygnets (pronounced SIG nits).  They become white by the time they are a year old.

Hans Christians Anderson’s story “The Ugly Duckling” is about a cygnet who thinks it is just an ugly duckling—until it grows up to be a beautiful swan.

Swans feed mainly on plants that they nip from the bottom of ponds and shallow takes were they spend so much time. – Dick Rogers