Black swan spotted in ponds east of Kersey
June 3, 2017
It's not quite a sighting on the scale of Big Foot, but some area birders swear they've seen a black swan floating around a rather isolated wetland area a few miles east of Kersey.
The black swan, however, is not such a myth in this area — though the species is indigenous to Australia.
This one could be an escapee, surmises Greeley birder Richard Maxfield.
Years ago, one of Greeley's more prominent residents, David Calvin, was an exotic bird collector, and he had a black swan on his estate in southwest Greeley.
"Nobody has seen a black swan since Calvin left," Maxfield said. Calvin moved out of state during the recession.
On Friday night, a friend called Maxfield and said she had seen a black swan off Weld County Road 59 and U.S. 34, an area Maxfield describes as a "good little birding area."
Maxfield said he went out Friday to see for himself, but missed the bird. He went out again later Saturday to try again, this time seeing it for himself.
Ronald and Rosina Green of Kersey saw the swan Saturday in that very area. As luck would have it, they didn't have a camera with a charged battery at the time.
"My husband spotted the swan," Rosina Green said. "I thought, 'It can't be a black swan.' We couldn't really believe our eyes. There were some other birds out there, a family of geese with four babies. For us, it was exciting."
A Galeton-area farmer who asked not to be named in this story brushed off the sighting as normal. A Galeton neighbor has two black swans, he said.
"You can buy them on the internet, you know," the farmer said.
But this sighting was about 10 miles south of that farm.
While there are many species of swan — trumpeter, mute, black-necked, coscoroba, whooper and tundra — all but the black swan are white, so there's no chance of mistaking a brownish swan for a black one, for example.
While the swan's origins may never be known, its sighting has excited the birding community, who may have never seen such a rare find in person.
According to the Audubon Society's website, "If you spot a black swan in North America, it's probably an escapee from a zoo or collection."
Says Audubon blogger Kenn Kauffman: "There's no reason to believe they would ever fly all the way across the Pacific, so when one shows up on a pond in New Jersey, we assume it's a local escapee."
To check out the black swan, it is swimming in some lakes south of U.S. 34. Take Weld 59 south, and let the road meander until you see the lakes.
You might run into the Greens — this time, their camera fully charged.