Few people plan on becoming single parents because of the incredible demands of parenthood, but when life throws curveballs your way, plans change and heroes emerge. Heroes who pretend they’re not exhausted even though they are literally always exhausted, heroes who go above and beyond to give their kids an amazing childhood when everything is stacked against them. Recently, a Boston dad made headlines for raising his seven babies all by himself after tragedy struck his family. Ok, so he’s a swan, but we don’t discriminate. This dad is a hero in our book.
The Charles River Esplanade in Boston is home to many swans, but when a swan couple decided to raise a family there, wildlife lovers were ecstatic. Residents swooned over the swans, keeping a safe distance after momma swan laid nine perfect eggs. The protective parents guarded their eggs, and their human supporters stole glances from afar. In late May, seven of the eggs hatched and the swan couple became proud parents.
Baby swans made their debut on the Esplanade this week and we cannot get over the pure cuteness of the newly hatched cygnets! Enjoy a collection of photos of our Espla-swan family from @NBC10Boston at https://t.co/jlEqXJb4fE
📸: Mark Garfinkel pic.twitter.com/1nTF1Uwx74
— Charles River Esplanade (@EsplanadeBoston) May 27, 2021
Not long after their babies hatched, Boston residents noticed something was very wrong with momma swan. She was struggling to stand and to stay above water, so concerned observers called animal control. Sadly, by the time help arrived, momma swan had passed away.
Swans typically mate for life, co-parenting their babies and sharing parental duties from the very beginning. Even for non-human parents, raising little ones is a huge amount of work. Swans have to protect their babies from predators, bring food back to their nests, and keep their young safe from the dangers that surround them. Without momma swan in the picture, papa swan stepped up to do it all.
— Anna Meiler (@AnnaMeiler) June 4, 2021
Even after the tragedy of losing his partner, papa swan did what he needed to do for his family. He took on the role of both parents, caring for his babies and teaching them how to grow into capable, self-assured swans.
“They seem to be doing well,” Emma Feeney, marketing and events coordinator for the Esplanade Association told The Dodo. “You can spot them in the esplanade lagoon swimming together, with some of the babies riding along on his back. Geese will swim by them and you can tell that the papa swan is in full force, protecting the cygnets. You can tell that he’s just a great, great father to them. It’s very adorable.”