Cooking with Wild Game · Life lessons · The Family

Swan Soup

I don’t like to be  awakened in the middle of the night. After giving birth to 4 children I figured I’ve put in my time in -in the sleepless nights department. I especially don’t like it if it is by someone attempting to play a horrible song on the trumpet at 3 am! Occasionally, as the warbley trumpet playing continued, they would hit a few recognizable notes, but most of it was horn blasting. I know, because one of our son’s started playing the trumpet a couple of years ago. And let’s just say, they all don’t start off playing taps!

After the trumpet playing came the beating of the canoe paddles on the water, then more bad trumpet playing and….more trumpets joined the noisy chorus . Excepting defeat, I finally opened my window to listen to the strange 3 am concert 50 feet away from my bedroom window and prayed that my boys would sleep through it.

The trumpeter swans have been making a remarkable come back in my area for the last 10 years. We have watched as the original 4 that came through here in the fall of 2001 multiply into 75 or more, that we counted last year. This is the first year they have ever come to mate here in the spring. It is the loudest most obnoxious mating ritual I have ever seen and heard.

I have watched wild life TV shows my whole life and never once did they show trumpeter swans, so this is all new to us. My husband I were to slow yesterday morning to grab the video camera as we sat in awe as 2 majestic swans did the most romantic little dance on the water circling round and round, running on the water, and bobbing their heads as they beat their wings occasionally on the water. When all of a sudden from out of no where came two more male swans who tried to break up the little dance party. They all thrashed and honked so loud I am certain that the whole lake was wake too wondering what on earth was all the ruckus. So, when I heard the low honking in the early am hours today, I knew they were back. I got me thinking about how they had become endangered and I couldn’t help but wonder if it had some thing to do with all the noise?

They are a huge bird. I wish I could get close enough to measure how tall they really are. Their wing span is nothing short of impressive. Watching them take off on the water leaves you thinking, their never going to make it. The sound they make as their wings hit the water, suggests massive strength. I have only been able to duplicate the sound by slapping canoe paddles as hard as I can on the water. Only to be exhausted after 30 seconds and I’m only using one paddle! They have to fly hundreds, maybe thousands of miles in their life time.

Back in the day, I would guess, one bird would have fed many people. Especially if you made swan soup. I know…I would never hunt swan, but going on 2 days with limited amounts of sleep, you start to think like a mad, crazy person. The lake is their home too. I guess, I better invest in some really good ear plugs and keep thinking of how adorable it would be to see baby swans on the lake this spring!

Oh and yes even with the windows closed you can still hear them loud and clear. Which came first the trumpet or the name for the trumpeter swan? Who is named after who?

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