Monday, August 15, 2011

Fly Away Home

Ruth was canoeing and camping with a group of women from our Sudbury days two weekends ago. When we were living there the group numbered about 14 and they called themselves the Goddesses. I encouraged them to keep the name to themselves, lest heresy invade our congregation. They canoed, skiied, ate, and generally seemed to have an inordinate amount of fun together. They were nearly all very involved in church life and decided that they just wanted some opportunity for playfulness. Mission accomplished.

On this recent weekend one of the members told Ruth the happy ending to a story from years ago. One day Ruth and I were launching our canoe in a Sudbury area lake when a kayak came around the corner with a dozen or so young trumpeter swans trailing behind. The woman in the kayak was a sort of "swan whisperer" urging them on with "here swans, c'mon swans."

It turned out this was a swan project along the lines of Fly Away Home. A research team was in Sudbury to raise and train the swans which as a species once migrated to Northern Ontario. Their goal was to teach the swans to fly south to Indiana in the Fall in the hope they would return the following Spring. The team leader flew an ultralight craft with pontoons and we would go to watch the flight training of the swans. His wife was pregnant and would spend hours in the water, not eating enough, Ruth decided. So they came to our house for a couple of meals and then to the church for a big potluck where interested folk could learn about their project.

The photo above is evidence that the project was a success. The first trip to Indiana was harrowing and some swans were lost. But others returned and the breeding population is growing.

How cool is that!


IanD said...

That's the ultimate bio-diversity experiment! Neat!

lionlamb said...

It was something to watch the swans' take-off for the first flight south, trailing out behind the ultralight.

Thanks Ian.