Swan

Swan Portrait of a Majestic Bird, from Mythical Meanings to the Modern Day

Paperback (14 Jul 2022)

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Publisher's Synopsis

Book of the Month, Countryside magazine

'[this] fascinating new book... provides a detailed insight into the snow-white species' Waterways World


A wildlife writer and photographer's celebration of the mute swan, Britain's most iconic breed, exploring the bird's significance across myth and history alongside vivid observations on its habits and habitats.


The swan is both a lover and a fighter. A graceful angel and a clumsy oaf. Immortalized by artists over the ages yet misunderstood and threatened in the present day. The mute swan - with its orange beak and aura of stately silence - is the breed we know best in Britain.

Dan Keel has been captivated by these birds since boyhood, studying their contrasting qualities over more than three decades. He's spent countless hours documenting their power, beauty and vulnerability as a writer of nature journalism, as a wildlife photographer looking for the perfect shot, and as a pilot sharing the skies.

In this labour of love, Dan speaks up for the mute, answering the essential questions about its nature and its future. Along the way, weaving his first-hand observations into the narrative, he shows us how swans have been portrayed in myth, art and culture for millennia, and how they have been venerated and imitated as well as harmed by humans.

Does anybody still eat swan? Can a swan really break your arm? Does the Queen own them all? With an eye for the humour as well as the tragedy of the swan's story, Dan lays out the facts, guides us to our lakes and riverbanks, and urges us to see these familiar creatures in a fresh light.

Book information

ISBN: 9781800073364
Publisher: Summersdale
Imprint: Summersdale
Pub date:
DEWEY: 598.4187
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 192g
Height: 129mm
Width: 199mm
Spine width: 18mm