Jon’s comment is right of course. They do often perch on one leg. Indeed many birds do. I had not thought about that this may sometimes be due to “they’re
using evaporation on their webs to cool down”. I wonder… that seems to me like trying to find an answer. Would cooling from evaporation be greater than it would be from simply having
feet in cold water?
However the photo is intriguing. I think because it is odd to think that a bird upending in water like that could hide its feet in its plumage so quickly, in
that posture. I suppose this is something that normally happens, so quickly that we can’t see it at normal speed, but it is revealed on a photo.
The issue about banding is hopefully a completely separate question.
From: Jon and Janet Coleman [
Sent: Friday, 13 November, 2020 5:28 PM
To: Christine; COG chatline
Cc: Mark Clayton
Subject: Re: [Canberrabirds] Swan banding project
I just replied via jack Holland who forwarded me your email and then just got this myself through on the list. As I mentioned in the previous email the bird looks as if it just has the other leg tucked up into the side feathers which they
do quite regularly and often do that for long periods of time quite happily. I can’t see any evidence of injury or trauma in the photo and suspect if it were injured it would struggle to maintain balance properly upending. Why they do that I don’t know, they
also stick their legs out sideways at times which looks awful. In that case they’re using evaporation on their webs to cool down, but the reason for tucking their legs into the side feathers like that I’m not sure off. Let me know if you’ve any other questions
From: Christine <>
Sent: Friday, 13 November 2020 3:30 PM
To: COG chatline <>
Cc: Mark Clayton <>
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Swan banding project
I wonder if anyone can help me with info about a Swan banding project, or with what might have happened to the swan in the attached photo.
Over the past couple of months I have noticed that swans around canberra have been acquiring bling, so I assume someone is doing a study of some kind.
Today I was watching a swan at Franklin, and noticed that it was only using one leg.
I watched for a while trying to see what was going on,and thought that the swan had lost a leg. But then, of course, the Swan swam to the other end of the pond. Eventually it came back, and soon started up-ending to forage on the bottom
of the pond. After a while I determined that the leg was actually still there - I think.
If anyone can provide any information on who is doing the study, or if there is a need to get wildlife rescue involved please let me know. I would assume that if the swan cannot use one leg it would not be able to get onto dry land etc,
though it seems fine in the water.