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Swans return to Victoria Park

(City of Kitchener/Instagram) (City of Kitchener/Instagram)
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The sun is shining and the swans are back in the water at Victoria Park in Kitchener.

“They are certainly a popular mainstay of Victoria Park, and a highlight to many people as they are living pictures,” said Manager of Forestry with the city, Josh Shea. “The swans spend most of their year living in the pond at Victoria Park. They've been here at the city for a number of years, way longer than I've been here. Otis longer than Ophelia. And more recently now, they're a pair.”

The city announced Otis and Ophelia had returned in an Instagram post Tuesday. In an email, a city spokesperson said they had arrived the day before.

“They're part of our city family that we take care of and look after while they're staying at the park,” Shea said.

Otis and Ophelia are adult birds. Shea says they are both at least 10-years-old and says passersby at the park can be able to tell them apart by looking at their size.

“Ophelia is a little bit bigger and then Otis is the male [and] has a different shape on the head of his beak as the male bird.”

The birds normally spend the winter at a swan sanctuary in Elora.

“They were welcomed in to spend the winter with some other swans that are cared for by some wonderful volunteers in Elora and then we return them and they go back to living in the park during the warmer season,” Shea explained.

Shea says the birds came back a little earlier this year due to the warmer weather.

“We always monitor them and we have staff at the park every day that can check to see what’s going on. We also rely on just the members of the public who are passionate about them or watch them or enjoy them who will often let us know if they have any concerns or anything going on.”

Shea says it’s a bit of a mystery as to why the birds have become so popular throughout the region but isn’t surprised that many feel drawn to the feathered pair.

“It's a beautiful space in the water and downtown, you know, and just having them there, I think it's just something to look forward to, something to look for, to enjoy their antics and watch them in the pond.”

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