The House That Federico Built

IMG 2464 The House That Federico Built

This is the house that Federico built.

Federico, and his lady love Maria Therese, have been paddling around their pond for weeks now and joyfully terrorizing anything on two feet (webbed or otherwise) that takes the pond’s nearby footpath.

Spring’s been hitting these two captive lovebirds especially hard this year.  Federico, an 8 or 9 year old Mute Swan has been trying to interest Maria Therese, his mate of 3 years, in baby raising since the moment he set a claw in the pond.  Unfortunately for him it’s been a bit of a May/December romance, and his previous attentions to her have sent her fleeing for to the hills for weeks at a time. She’s still too young to be sexually mature, and in the past seemed convinced that his “romantic attentions” were loose attempts at drowning her. He’s tried everything on her in the past except “giving her the chair” Wrestlmania style, but she was ‘not that kind of girl’, and decided he was completely lecherous.

This year the stars have aligned, and he has finally learned a little finesse and tact. (A needed virtue in a 25 pound bird if you ask me.)  They’ve spent months now doing neck dances around the pond, and he’s made sure to let her eat first at the cracked corn bowl every morning since the snow thawed, which has apparently done wonders in his ability to get a second date with her.

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Not only has this been the first year that he’s actually been able to interest his mate in courtship, but this is the second of two nests he built for her this year just to impress her.  Every morning while she is sunning herself on the pavement walkway, or diving for pond weeds, he has been doggedly plucking reeds, and grasses, and carefully weaving them together into a nest fit for a Jim Henson creation.

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Federico spent most of his time embellishing the nest on the location that Maria Therese liked best, and the final diameter on the nest is over five feet across!  Maria Therese checks out his progress after her breakfast, and comes to sit in it from about 10am to 11:30am – after which time she devotes herself to synchronized swimming drills, and checking the pathway to see if I’m on my way to bring her any cracked corn.

Unfortunately for her right now I’m the only one bringing her corn due to the aforementioned harassment of any and all creatures near the nest or pond. Federico’s been impossible to live with since the day he discovered that he was about as fast on land as a Jazzy Scooter, and began chasing the retired vetrans around in the wildlife observation area.  Funny how something like that can ruin the free rations he was getting.

Memo to Federico:  Some of them still have munitions in their basements from the war!  I’m just sayin’.

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Also unfortunately for both Federico and Maria Therese I come with my goose control dog, who obediently lay next to the nest long enough for me to photograph and measure it without their interference.  Both the dog and I will be back again to continually check the nest on our morning rounds for eggs to remove, but for now we are just impressed with all his hard work.

Great job Federico!

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