SWANTON VILLAGE — Sam and Betty’s transport team agreed: these swans have never seemed so excited.
Swanton’s signature mute swans returned to their summer home around 8:40 a.m. Thursday morning, a small, enclosed waterfront property in the middle of the village park.
The transport team — Mark Rocheleau, Dean Ryan, Suzanne Washburn and Kelly McCagg — waited for a group of small children eager to see the swans to arrive before unloading the birds from the truck.
Betty patiently waited in a kennel, while Sam sat in a well-ventilated wooden container.
Betty was first to re-enter the swan pond. She beelined it for the miniature pond. She seemed thrilled to be back in the cool outdoor water.
But then she remembered the absence of her mate.
Betty waddled out of the pond, on to the swan enclosure’s north lawn, and hid behind a tall shrub.
Next Rocheleau and Ryan hauled Sam’s container pond side.
“He’s a big boy,” Rocheleau groaned.
Sam wasted no time once freed. His escape, stretching his great neck to rise from the wooden container, looked like a scene from Jurassic Park.
Make no mistake about it — the swans were not contained in these crates for long.
They spent the colder months roaming freely around their seasonal home: Missisquoi Valley Union’s agricultural education facility, under MVU ag students’ care.
The transport team picked up the swans from MVU around 8:15 a.m. Thursday morning.
It took Betty — still standing, rigid, in hiding behind that shrub — a minute to realize her betrothed was doing laps in the pool.
Once she did, the party started.
The swans dove, flapped, shuddered and picked between their feathers, washing the winter from their wings before a delighted audience.
This went on for a while.
The swans occupy their central park property throughout the summer.
Betty was recently reincarnated. That is, this present Betty joined Sam in 2018, after her predecessor died of a genetic protein-formation abnormality, with which she was born, in 2017.
The Swanton Chamber made sure this Betty was tested upon her arrival. She received a clean bill of health.
Those peering in at the swans as Sam strolls his lawn needn’t worry about his visible limp. Washburn said the limp is not the result of an injury. Sam simply has a deformed foot.
Asked for comment on their return, the birds replied —through body language — they could not be bothered.
They’re too busy being home.