June 24, 2009

Geriatric swan a new father-of-four

A wildlife biologist says a geriatric swan in the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Spokane, Wash., is father to four new cygnets.

Refuge wildlife biologist Mike Rule said Solo is a trumpeter swan thought to be between 33 and 46 years old. The cygnets were apparently born Father's Day weekend, The Spokesman-Review reported Monday.

An average lifespan of a trumpeter swan in the wild is 20 to 30 years.

Rule said Solo spent 22 years mating prior to the recent birth without any offspring.

Refuge manager Nancy Curry said she checked in on Solo and his mate at Cheever Lake Monday and noticed the first of the baby swans in the pair's nest.

She was on the nest, and as I watched (through a spotting scope) I saw some little white things by her tail. Then a head popped up. I was jumping up and down by that time, Curry told the Spokesman-Review.