Today we had a late afternoon walk at the lakes in Rushden, where we walk often . Last year we saw some amazing wildlife at these local lakes. There are always swans to be seen, swimming, moulting, eating , nesting and lots more interesting behaviours including fighting between themselves.
As we came around a corner this Swan was out on the bank preening. It gave us a hiss and stare as we walked passed . I filmed it’s feather maintenance as it was super to watch.
Swans preen twice a day to keep their feathers waterproof and in good condition.They have a preen gland ( uropygial gland) at the base of their tail which produces an oil to use on the fathers. This is applied with the head, the short feathers on the head can become worn and if there is iron in the water the head can develop a rusty coloured cap. This disappears with moulting.
Standing out of the water the swan shows its impressive size. Watching the preening highlights how flexible the neck is .
Swans can weigh between 22-33 lbs only a few pounds less than the largest bird capable of flight: the Kori Bustard.The swans wing span ranges from 79-138 inches. This large bird uses its web feet as paddles to launch off the water and as water skis to land !
A great stroll around swan lake .