I often get inspiration from bird watching. Jesus told us to “Look at the birds of the air.”
I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday evening near dusk. I was returning home along the River Quoile when I noticed a gathering of swans in a bend of the river. I stopped the car and scrambled out to investigate. I had never seen such a large flock of swans there before.
Young adult swans were having a evening together. Circling, resting, washing, dipping, sailing, hissing, eating, cleaning, chirping, doing things swans do. Apparently at these get togethers the young adults chose life partners and start a family together the next spring.
The male and female swans mate for life. About eight eggs are laid and hatched. In the Downpatrick area I have seen families of swans up to seven fully reared young. At about a year the cygnets leave the parents and join the flock of other single swans. When the swans are four years old they are mature to pair off and make a nest of their own. They have to find a new territory to rear their young in safety.
It was timely for me to come upon this scene. My daughter is leaving home to travel to Canada this week. Another son will leave soon.
Seeing the young swans together reminded me that it is the natural process of life for young to leave their parents and meet other young people of their age. My grown children will start out in their lives and meet his or her life partner and start a family of their own.