The Whooper Swan or Laulujoutsen is the national bird of Finland. A delightful gentelman pointed out a family of swans to us as we were walking beside the water at Toolonlahti.
This beautiful bird is one of the heaviest flying birds, with males averaging 9.8 – 11.4 kilos and females 8.2 – 9.2 kilos. They mate for life, with both males and females building the nest. The cygnets can fly at the age of 120 – 150 days and stay with the parents all through their first winter and sometimes rejoin the group the following year.
They spend most of their time in water, straining the water for food or eating plants that grow on the bottom.
In the last century they were almost annihilated by hunters, but attitudes changed in the 1950s and they began to be protected. Today there are thousands of pairs nesting in Finland.
The swan was made the national bird of Finland in 1982. You can find the Whooper Swan on the €1 coin.
For a beautiful photo of a swan beside the national tree of Finland ( Silver Birch) click here.