Nesting In Spring
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Notes from DaVic Gallery: ‘Nesting In Spring’ – Beautiful and colorful print on stencil using seven colors. Six swans placed in different activities create a sense of balance left to right and top to bottom in the overall print. Though the sun places lightly higher weight towards to top left of the print, the nest with eggs at the bottom right counterbalances the sun. The snowy white tundra swan breeds in the Arctic and migrates many miles to winter on North America’s Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, bays, and lakes. The eastern population frequents the Chesapeake Bay and North Carolina, while the western population typically winters in California. These animals fly some 3,725 miles (6,000 kilometers) round-trip between their distant habitats, and make the daunting journey twice each year. Tundra swan subspecies also winter in Europe and Asia.
Tundra swans are often confused with trumpeter swans, and indeed the two species are very similar in appearance. They are most easily distinguished by their calls.
Believed to mate for life, these swans actually pair up for nearly an entire year before breeding. Though in their winter grounds they gather in huge flocks, they breed as solitary pairs spread out across the tundra. Each couple defends a territory of about three-fourths square miles (two square kilometers).
The bird’s tundra nests are large stick dwellings lined with moss and grasses. Ideally, they are situated close to a pond or other water source.
Females typically lay three to four eggs and incubate them for 32 days while males guard the nest. Young chicks are protected from cold and predators, including swarms of voracious Arctic mosquitoes. Tundra swans can be nasty when aroused, and the birds may even be able to fend off predators like foxes and jaegers.
Despite the tundra swan’s dedicated efforts, its entire breeding season is subject to the whims of the Arctic climate. An early freeze or late spring may cause significant reproductive problems.
— National Geographic