Friday, January 23, 2015

Swans and a Loss

For several years I have been driving past a pasture in the country where, every January, I would see a huge mass of white birds milling about. In 2013 I took pictures and wrote a post called The Great Swan Meet n Greet. Back in 2013 I didn't know what kind of birds they were, and my curiosity finally drove me to turn to a local naturalist who had a regular radio program called "John Cooney's Natural World". I emailed him about the birds and sent him the picture below, not really expecting him to get back to me---but he promptly did and explained that these birds are migrating tundra swans!

I was so happy that he wrote me back and told me about these birds, and now I look for them every January. Yesterday, I was driving out in that area again, anticipating that I would see them, and indeed, at milepost 1 (they always gather in the same pasture) there they were!! However, this time I had a bittersweet feeling seeing them because I found out that in late 2014 John Cooney passed away from cancer. I didn't know the man and, aside from that one email (and of course, listening to his shows) I had never had any other interactions with him. But he touched my life in a way that I will always remember and will always associate with these birds. In a way, I guess, a tiny part of him is in that pasture with the swans. So, thank you John Cooney :)

If you are interested in hearing some of his shows, they can be found here.


  1. Aw, that's a sweet story. If you're kind to people you can live on in their happy memories of you. I'll have to check out his shows, I'm so bad, hadn't heard of him. Loved learning something new about these beautiful birds :)

  2. How beautiful - what a wonderful yearly ritual you are able to witness. Thanks for that link - I have bookmarked it.

  3. I suspect you'll think of Mr. Cooney each time you see those swans. He would appreciate being remembered in that way, I'm sure.

  4. A pasture full of swans? I've never seen anything like it!