Build Back Better

Swans rebuilding nest and infrastructure

This past winter and spring seasons, Christl and I followed a white swan family, also called Mute Swans, through egg laying, to little cygnets, and on to full-grown adulthood. The cygnets then left their parents, as children are want to do, and mother and father swan went about their business of laying another six or so eggs. They also refurbished their nest, which is about one and a half meters wide, and lot of “infrastructure” leading up to it. The previous nest had been severely damaged by winter ice on the Rott River. It reminded us of Biden’s often-quoted “Build Back Better.”

You could say we returned to nature’s blessing instead of Covid’s devastations. Christl and I took long walks and bike rides into the countryside, without masks, to appreciate the exercise of doing something physical instead of hunkering over computer and TV screens. It also rejuvenated a hobby back in high school in the days of must-have Leicas and Rollieflexes. Now I am able to whip out a much smaller iPhone camera from my pocket at any moment that I see a photogenic scene.

We fed the crows who flew over our third-floor corner office windows in flocks of several hundreds and scrounged for food under the snow covering. The black crows over the white snow also reminded me of the beauty in a Black & White photographs.

The next thing the mother swan did is lay on top of the eggs to keep them warm for about 40-days and nights! It is noting that April 2021 was the coldest month in Bavaria since April 1938. We went to check on the swans about twice a week. Every time we checked on the couple, we found the mother swan sleeping or lounging on the eggs and the father chasing the Graylag geese away from encroaching on their territory.

The smaller geese, no match for the larger father swan, must have come to some agreement on sharing the territory. Maybe it had something to do with the geese feeding off the farmers’ fields on agricultural crops like wheat, barley, and grass foods. While the swans feed in the shallow river water plants. The father swan ceased chasing the geese. The geese families were soon rearing their own clutches of goslings in threes, fours, and sevens. The geese with their goslings would leave the riverbank and march off to the farmers’ fields. We never found where their nests were.

Geese and Goslings families
Geese and Goslings feeding on farmer filed

All is peaceful along the Rott river.




A snowbird from Bavaria

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Michael Frankel

Michael Frankel

A snowbird from Bavaria

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