Swans have long exalted the human heart. Among the world's most magnificent creatures, swans inspire us, especially on Valentine's Day. On a lake, an adult pair of swans glides serenely, side by side, a classic symbol of love. And they have earned their reputation for fidelity. Swans mate for life. Their bond endures from year to year and the family group remains together until spring. No wonder swans have worked their way into many human images of love.
Swans on Valentine’s Day
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Tundra Swans calling]
Swans, like the Tundra Swans calling in the background, have long exalted the human heart. Among the world’s most magnificent creatures, swans inspire us today, Valentine’s Day. [Tundra Swans calling]
On a lake, an adult pair of swans glides side by side, two young cygnets between them – an image of protective love. They mate for life, their bond enduring from year to year and the family group remaining together until spring. No wonder swans have worked their way into many human images of love.
It was in the guise of a swan that the Greek god, Zeus, came to Leda, queen of Sparta. One result of their tryst was the lovely Helen, whose affair with Paris of Troy set in motion that most enduring of epics, The Iliad.
One of the finest images of a pair of swans comes to us from the poet, William Butler Yeats:
“Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will
Attend upon them still.”
Happy Valentine’s Day from BirdNote. I’m Frank Corrado.
Call of the Tundra Swan provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Flock sounds recorded by G. Vyn. Pair calls by B. McCaffery.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org February 2012 Narrator: Frank Corrado
[Citation: Yeats, W. B. The Wild Swans at Coole. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1919.]