Whooper Swan by Alastair Rae

Since today is Midsummer Night which is kind of a big deal in Finland(two days national holiday big), I decided to share with you Finland’s national bird, the whooper swan. Swans in general are pretty important in Finnish folklore. In Karelian mythology they were thought to be the go-betweens of the living and the dead (Karelian mythology in general has a special place in Finnish folklore, but more about that some other time). In fact, swans were so ubiquitous in Karelian cave paintings that they’ve been called the waterbird people.

Whooper swans are considered to be the heaviest flying birds. They have a wingspan of over 2 meters (205-275 cm, 81-108 inches, to be precise). They weigh roughly ten kilos or 24 pounds. The thing that makes this cool is the fact that their legs are so small and weak that they can’t support that weight for extended times. As a result, swans spend almost all of their time either in the water or in flight. Despite that weight they’re incredible fliers, migrating hundreds, sometimes thousands of kilometers to winter in southern Europe or eastern Asia while they nest near the arctic circle.

Whooper swan by distillated

Hyvää Juhannusta! (Happy Midsummer)