Monday, December 22, 2008

Swans of Montreat


Two new swans took to Montreat Conference Center’s Lake Susan like …well, like ducks to water. After their release last Thursday afternoon, the pair calmly swam off to investigate their new home, clearly unruffled by their ride to the conference center.

“The swans are a gift from CeCe and Thad Ellett,” explained Polly Cameron, director of the Montreat Conference Center Annual Fund. “One of our previous swans had died shortly before the Elletts came to visit the conference center a little over a year ago,” she continued. “Saddened to see the remaining bird, nicknamed “Elvis,” swimming alone, CeCe decided to donate a new pair in celebration of the Ellett’s second wedding anniversary.”

A pair of swans serenely patrolling Lake Susan has long been a tradition at Montreat Conference Center. Left alone, as Elvis was after the death of his partner, a solitary swan can become increasingly aggressive and territorial, making it impossible to introduce a single new swan to the lake. “We coaxed Elvis to shore Wednesday evening,” Cameron said, adding that, true to his name, Elvis was attracted to the women calling to him from the shore and paddled in willingly. He was safely placed in a crate and taken back to enjoy a long and happy “swan retirement” at Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Center, an 8-acre avian breeding preserve in Scotland Neck, NC, that is home to over 180 species of birds – more than half of the world’s known species of ducks, geese, and swans – along with cranes, pheasants, parrots, and other exotic birds.

The two new swans are also from Sylvan Heights.

(from recent Press Release from Montreat Conference Center)

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