Down Under, the critters are genuinely fascinating. The quirky marsupials, the flightless birds, the one-humped camels – all beautiful and intriguing. One of my favorites though, is the black swan. These beautiful, majestic birds are uniquely curious while being just on the “edge” of normal. And by “normal” I mean, of course, that they’re like swans anywhere in the world, only here, they’re black.
When I first heard of black swans, I thought they must be some kind of weird, mutated swans. Afterall, white swans were the norm – the only graceful, long-throated bird of the species I’d ever witnessed. Perhaps these were the results of someone’s science experiment that results in an odd assortment of colored swans created in a hybridizing lab. For what purpose? Prettiness, I guessed.
And then I started researching the unique birds and discovered that, no, they were not specially bred. They were beautifully, wonderfully, naturally black. All on their own. By God’s design.
Then I saw them in Australia myself.
They were in multiple locations I visited, from the estuaries in Tasmania to the Melbourne Botanic Garden and in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. I saw them at night, floating on the lighted waters of River Torrens. I saw them by day, gracefully gliding across the waters of small ponds crafted for the pleasure of humankind.
Black swans, it turns out, are a nomadic species with erratic migration patterns that follow climate conditions.
The birds naturally occur only in Australia, as well – those Aussies do love being different, even the wildlife! – but were exported into other nations for ornamental purposes in the 1800s. They escaped captivity and bred in the wild, creating stable populations. So, now you might spot them in other parts of the world, not just zoos.
These beautifully graceful, unique, quirky birds make me happy. I love the smooth motion of their elegant glide, the startlingly vivid red of their beaks, the intensity of their black plumage. And, of course, I love how simply unique they are – to the point that they actually created a theory (The Black Swan Theory) before they were ever discovered.
That’s my kind of waterfowl.