The last week has had it's sweet moments and it's sad moments. I was not the only person anxiously waiting for the swan eggs to hatch. There are several other people that are lurking around the nests waiting for the first crack to show. One, an older gentleman, has become a Bekannter (acquaintance) of mine. We try to piece together my poor German and his rudimentary English to make swan talk. He's retired so he's been spending almost every waking moment there - camera in hand. While I was somewhere shoving another Bratwurst down my gullet, he was there capturing every small detail of the first hatchlings. And hatch they did.
I arrived on Monday to learn that one of the mothers had four new baby cygnets. Her last egg is still left to hatch. It's was hard to get any pictures since the babes spend most of their time under the mother's wings but I managed a few.
And now the sad part. The other Swan Mother had just two eggs. Now she has just one. Apparently, yesterday some teenage boys were showing off, being stupid or whatnot and decided it would be fun to try and steal the eggs. They got one of the eggs and when people nearby tried to persuade them to put the egg back, the teen's response was, "here, you put it back." And then he rolled the egg on the ground like a bowling ball. Of course, it smashed.
When I heard this, I started to cry. I was so upset that I had to call Thomas at work. I've done that only once since I've been here. The news hit me so hard. It was just such a cruel, senseless thing to do. The egg couldn't have been more than a week away from hatching. That mother has sat there day and night, through all kinds of weather, only to have someone destroy her family. For no reason. I feel like they should find the kids and arrest them. But they bolted and my swan friend thinks they'll never find them. They better hope he doesn't recognized them around the lake because he was as mad/sad about it as a parent protecting a child. Here's the mother with her lone egg. It still breaks my heart.
UPDATE: The egg of the second swan never hatched although she sat on it for a good three weeks after it should have hatched. Finally the man I call the Swan Professor (he visits them every day, knows everything about them, names them and basically just loves and cares for them) had to remove the egg so she could get on with her life. Heartbreaking.