A lonely, widowed black swan has been paddling around on a lake in Bavaria near Castle Rosenau for about a year now, since her mate was killed, probably by a fox. New York Post reports that local officials became worried about her, and posted an ad in a paper looking for a new partner to float on both calm and stormy waters with her. And it worked!
A date ad for a bird worked. That may seem a bit unfair to those of us who are constantly struggling to meet someone on app after app, but black swans are magical creatures, as you can see in this gif of one of them feeding koi fish from its own food trough:
A nearby swan breeder in Ingolstadt had a black swan to send over to the lake, and the birds have apparently hit it off! Love is real!
Christoph Schaeftlein, who works at Rosenau Castle, told reporters that the swans have been together for a few days and things have been "harmonious." The new swan is only a year old, which means they can't actually tell what gender it is, but like the very modern birds they are, they don't seem to care. Schaeftlein says that “both swans are happily swimming on the lake.” What a beautiful ode to avian romance. But it gives us an opportunity to address certain swan rumors.
The BBC wrote a long post in 2014 about all the mythologies people perpetuate about these graceful water birds, and their supposed eternal commitment together. It turns out they're kind of like humans: They get together because it makes it easier to take care of the kids, which is a lot of work.
Swans stick together once they mate because they're sort of learning how to raise cygnets in tandem. They're able to produce more offspring because they've done it before together and figured out the best system. But if things go south and they have a bad nest year, they'll often separate and go on the prowl again. Without any human intervention, swans manage to hook up and divorce all the time.
Also, dads do a lot of the nest care. Many sit on the nests while the ladies go eat. Pairing up just makes things easier on the birds all around—but that doesn't mean they don't cheat. In fact, female black swans cheat more than average. For swans, that is, not people. It's sort of like a safeguard in case the swan she partnered up with who is back at the nest can't actually give her babies. According to the BBC, one in seven eggs raised by a black male swan will have a different dad, but that's partly because she lays more clutches of eggs than trumpet swans or mute swans.
I doubt swans care on an emotional level if someone is getting a little action on the side, but in the case of our two lovebirds, it hardly matters. They're the only two black swans around for miles and they're gonna make it work!