Several pictures of a father swan carrying his young ones between his wings after the mother passed away have captivated the hearts of many. The photos, which were shared by photographer Matthew Raifman on social media, are of a father swan whose partner died 10 days ago.
Now, the heart-warming story of these birds who are known to mate for life has the internet overwhelmed with love.
According to Raifman’s post, the mother swan died of unknown causes soon after she gave birth to six healthy cygnets. Since then, the father has been seen taking care of the young ones.
“Last week, six baby swans were born in Boston,” he wrote in the caption. “The mother died a few days later of unknown causes. One of the cygnets drowned; another had to be rescued by animal control. But this papa swan, left to his own, is rising to the challenge.”
In the photographs shared by Raifman, which have now gone viral on social media, the three cygnets can be seen snuggled between their father’s wings, while the fourth trails behind them in the water.
According to The Boston Globe, the father swan has been dubbed Atticus, after the widowed Atticus Finch in the novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.
The photos have been reposted on multiple platforms. For the residents of Boston, these swans have been a source of fascination ever since they first appeared.
But for the internet, the story of these birds has become a reminder of heartbreak, loyalty, and love. In the dreariness of the pandemic, Netizens can’t get enough of the beautiful story of the swans. Many online worried about their health and wished the swan family the best.
“A swan who loses a mate may get kind of depressed and lonely, and pull themselves away,” Greg Mertz, a vet at the New England Wildlife Centre, told The Boston Globe. “I think he [the father swan] may be so busy, taking care of his babies that he may not be going through a mourning period yet.”
Swans usually seek out a partner when their mate dies, says Birdspot, a British website on birds. So, in all likelihood, this year the father will continue caring for the cygnets through the summer—swim with them, feed them, and play with them. And next year, when the cygnets turn into adults and fly away, the father swan would likely find a new mate.