The Return of Mel and Rose

... the famous swan couple, along with a few friends, are back in Ell Pond

from Debbi Collar

Ell Pond is brimming to life once again, despite the chilly insistence of winter to linger just a while longer.

Ice on Ell Pond and a brisk wind didn't stop our city of Melrose's most famous and most photographed friends from returning to the place they have called home for the past four years.

Mel and Rose have returned.

Meteorologists proclaimed it was Spring, 2014, and on the first full day of the new season, the pair were sighted gracefully gliding throughout the channels of Ell Pond that the sun had been able to melt away.

But what's this? Is the photographer seeing double?

This year, a surprise. - Mel and Rose have returned with friends. Two more swans have joined them in the waters. Whether or not one of the new pair is a sibling and its mate of the first generation cygnets (baby swans) is unknown.  However, this would be an approximate time for that first generation to begin its new family.

According to Animal Control Officer, Coral Hope,she doesn't know where the swans go in winter( "usually,nearby coastal bays") or who the new couple would be. She says that perhaps, "Mel and Rose have been spreading the word about our beautiful pond."

March 21st also marked the return of a gaggle of geese and  raft of ducks to the pond, along with a few mixed up seagulls.

Hope also states that Melrosians have a respect for the Mute swans on Ell Pond and understand," the importance of enjoying the wildlife from afar as this is the safest way to protect the wildlife. The swans will come back if they feel safe and undisturbed."

Residents are encouraged to admire and take photographs (again from a distance) but are not encouraged to feed the wildlife.  Again, safety for both the waterfowl and humanity.  In her words,hope says " It is not a good idea to feed wild birds, feeding them and getting too close can cause them to lose their natural fear of humans while increasing their dependence on us for survival. Human food such as bread or chips are not suitable for them and can cause multiple health problems. They can also become very aggressive toward humans if they are used to being fed and someone comes along without food in hand."

Hope repeatedly stressed that admiring these animals from a distance would be safest for all as we prepare to enjoy the pond and the dog park surrounding Ell Pond in the upcoming months.  Please respect the banners in "Admiring them without disturbing them can bring everyone great pleasure."

Dogs should also not be allowed to swim in the water of the pond.

The reason for this is "they could scare the wildlife and cause them to attack your dog or the dog could injure the birds and disturb their nests."  Another reason is that "the pond could have bacteria or algae that could make your dog sick."

What should a person do though if they find any wildlife is injured?

Sticking to an old adage of letting nature take its course, Hope says again, for the safety of all concerned,"please call the Animal Control Officer in Melrose (1-781-979-4102). The city will call the Animal Rescue league. If you find an injured animal, leave it alone so the animals don't further injure themselves or anyone else. Sometimes trying to help only makes things worse."  

Nesting for the waterfowl is currently under construction, as is the same with those birds who build their nests in the trees.

Spring is here!

Photos by Stringer Debbi Collar

April 4, 2014

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