Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Danish National Birds: SWANS

Firstly, ı want to give some information about the national bird of Denmark: the Mute Swan

The National Bird of Denmark is the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) or Knopsvane (of course), made famous in the story by Hans Christian Andersen, "The Ugly Duckling".
In the 1920's the Mute Swan was nearly extinct, until in 1926 it became a protected species and has now regained its population and is seen all over Denmark and most of northern Europe.
They breed in colonies all over Denmark and are a magnificent bird to see.
At an early age the Mute Swan or cygnet is not always white and is usually an off-white, grey or brownish tint. Their beaks/bills are black and it is not until after their first year that they turn all white and the beak/bill gets its orange color.
This is where the Hans Christian Andersen story has its origins. Many Mute Swans are ugly ducklings – some cygnets are white, but most are not - but all Mute Swans are white when they mature.
And that is the story of the National Bird of Denmark.
The Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) is the national bird. Chosen by thousands of Danes in 1984 in a national election initiated by Danish Television. This beautiful and majestic bird is the largest bird here in Denmark and very common throughout the country.
    I learned the swans are national birds of Denmark during my trip to the Port with Nazlı. One day Nazlı and me were so bored that we decided to go for a walk to the port. Also we took some bread to feed the ducks. To our surprise, we encountered with many swans and one of them was sitting in the middle of the road and it was too stubborn to walk away. However, there were cars, bicycle and a truck and they weren't able to move because of that swan. When we saw that scene, we couldn't help laughing and then Nazlı took some bread and run towards the road like a hero and convinced the swan to move. All the drivers said "tak" and went on driving. There were many swans on the seashore and it wasnt normal to see them on the seashore and in large numbers. However, that time the weather was freezing cold and snowy and all the birds( seagulls, swans, and ducks) were about to faint of hunger. we fed them with some bread that we brought from home but it wasn't sufficient and we left there for a while and went to a market and bought some bread and came back. we came across with some people who were feeding them and they said that they were members of Vordingborg Kommune and they moved to another city, so they couldnt feed the birds and requested us to feed them daily during cold weather. we accepted and they gave a lot of bread to us. Moreover, many people are afraid of swans and they think that they tend to attack and bite :) Anyway we did our responsibility even though in times we didnt have any time :) it was very interesting and entertaining(sometimes painful) to spend time with swans :) They were pulling our hair and laces of our shoes and biting when they got angry :)


  1. que guay!!
    (so cool)
    Anne,I like the way you feed!!!

  2. I want to eat a swan...Why didn't you catch one for me :) It must be delicious...:)

  3. I think you are were nice to feed the swans and luckily you got free bread from the kommune. I once saw a swan that flew right in to an electrified wires and it got toast and feld to the grown so I had to call emergency assistens, and it survied

  4. Dorthe: It explains the phenomenon of black swans...

  5. @ Hatice I really liked your pictures. Swans are beautifull and elegant creatures. Winter in Denmark can be hard time for the swans so it was very nice of you to feed them

    @ Peter hehe so thats where blalck swans come from :)

  6. The story and the pictures are fantastic. Especially the picture where Nazli hugs a swan. She is obviously unaware of the fear many danish people have for swans where we say that they can break an arm (funny enough it is always the arm not anything else).

    I think these pictures could be great for a brochure about international students in Denmark