In recent weeks we have received numerous enquiries about the presence of cygnets in Centennial Park – they’re not typically seen at this time of year. Here is the mystery explained!
‘Adam and Clementine’ are the adopted names of two baby black swan cygnets currently being spotted in Centennial Park. Named by a visiting school excursion group, the two cygnets are two of an unusually high number of cygnets currently in the Park thanks to heavy rainfall in late 2014.
Why the cygnets are here
Black swans (Cygnus atratus) usually lay their eggs between April and October – but tend to wait for heavy rains to do so. 2014 was one of the hottest and driest years on record, with proper rain not arriving in Sydney until October, which resulted in the Park’s black swans to nest very late.
When the rains came late last year, it was the tail-end of our swan’s laying season. Adam and Clementine are two of the cygnets who have come along quite late in the season. They will stay with their parents until they can fly at around 9 months old.
The pair’s parents had a large nest on Lily Pond, but it was submerged during the floods in early May. When the water receded a feisty bachelor swan had taken up residence on Lily Pond, chasing away any and all who invaded his newly claimed turf.
The family wisely decided to uproot and moved across the road to Busby’s Pond. However we are happy to report that as of last week the bachelor has moved on and the feathery couple have moved their family back home to Lily Pond, where you can visit Adam and Clementine as they grow up.
Another reason there aren’t many cygnets at this time of year is because sadly they don’t make it this far. One unfortunate contributor is dogs. We have witnessed the after effects of dog attacks on swans and cygnets and it isn’t a pleasant outcome. This is one reason why inside Grand Drive is dog on-leash, and also why dogs are not allowed within 10m of ponds. We need to protect the wildlife that congregates in the centre of the Park.
Saying this, the fact that there a quite a few cygnets in the Park is good news, and certainly thanks to the responsible dog owners who know and obey the on-leash rules when in the Park!
Black swan facts
- It takes around 40 days for black swan eggs to hatch.
- Black swans are monogamous, and only have a 6% ‘divorce rate’!
- 25% of black swan couples are males. They team up with a female to start a family, but once she lays the eggs they kick her out of the nest and raise the chicks themselves – talk about involved dads!
- Black swans lose their flight feathers when they moult so it is important to not let dogs chase them in Centennial Park as they might not be able to fly away.