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February 19, 2018

Swans Make Frequent Appearances in Literature

One of the most famous stories in children’s literature is “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen.  The story is about a cygnet who thinks he is an unattractive duckling, but grows into a beautiful and graceful swan.  Andersen also wrote “The Wild Swans”.  This tale features an evil stepmother who turned her stepsons into swans.  They carry away their sister to save her.  The sister is mute, but spends her days knitting shirts from nettles.  She is about to be burned at the stake as a witch when her brothers descend from the sky and save her.  They don the magic nettle shirts and turn into human form.  Their sister regains her speech and all live happily ever after.  

Perhaps the Buckhorn Inn swans will be the subject of children's literature.

The graceful swans at the Buckhorn Inn could star in their own story.

Greek mythology shares the story of Leda and the swan.  This story recounts the conception of Helen of Troy by the Queen of Sparta and Zeus, disguised as a swan.  This myth was expressed powerfully by W.B. Yeats in his poem “Leda and the Swan”.  Yeats also wrote “The Wild Swans at Coole” which expressed his search for lasting beauty in a changing world where beauty was temporary.

In Norse mythology, two swans drink from the Well of Urd.  The water is so pure that the swans turn white, as do all their descendants.  

The Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario used the swan as inspiration.  His most famous poem perhaps is “Coat of Arms”.  His use of the swan made it the symbol of the Modernismo poetic movement.

Works of classical literature reference the myth that otherwise mute swans sing beautifully at the moment of their death.  This idea gave birth to the phrase “swan song”.

Because of their lifelong, monogamous pairing, swans are often a symbol of never ending love.  Swans were a favorite bird Shakespeare.  Many of his works feature them, including this passage from “As You Like It”:

And wheresoever we went, like Juno’s swans, still we went coupled and unseparable.  

Buckhorn Inn Swans to be Named in Mid-March, Literature Provides Inspiration

Our two brother swans arrived at the Inn on February 14.  Innkeeper John is contemplating the many clever names submitted by our guests.  Please refer to our earlier blog listing potential names.  Please let us know your ideas if you have not yet done so!


February 5, 2018

Clever Guests Send Great Suggestions for Swan Names

New Swan ArrivesBuckhorn must have the most literate and wittiest group of Inn friends.  Wow!  We are so impressed by the terrific response from our guests for names for our new swans and the range of those suggestions—inspired by sports, politics, the personal, popular and classic music, literature, Greek and Roman myth, television and movies.

Nominations are open until March 15, so it’s not too late to send your entry.

• Wilbur and Orville (multiple nominations)
• Prince Harry and Prince William (multiples)
• Jakob and Wilhelm (Grimm) (multiples)
• George and Ira (Gershwin) (multiples)
• Doug and Hub (Bebb brothers) (multiples)
• Rogers & Hammerstein (multiples)
• Gilbert & Sullivan (multiples)
• Eli and Payton (Manning) (multiples)
• Bert & Ernie (multiples)
• Trevor and Bayne
• Andy and Barney
• Robert and Lindsay (Young twin brothers and former owners of Buckhorn)
• Zig and Zag
• Larry and Other Brother Darryl
• John and Jim, for the Belushi brothers who are from Chicago
• Pops and Peanuts, for the Panezko brothers, Chicago’s famous jewel thieves
• Marshall and Field, for department store
• Eliot (Ness) and Al (Capone)
• Wrigley and Soldier, for the baseball and football stadium
• Shakespeare and Van Gogh
• Cain and Abel
• Romulus and Remus
• Zeus and Poseidon
• Groucho and Harpo
• Blue and Ridge
• Elvis (Presley) and Carl (Perkins)
• Apollo and Zeus
• Buck & Hornsby
• Buckin * Bronco
• Bubble and Squeak
• Walter (Matthau) and Jack (Lemmon)
• John and Lee (We thank you but these names might confuse new guests!)
• Andres and Tchaikovsky ( both associated with the tale of swan lake- by Tchaikovsky- Andres was the writer of Black Swan( the movie remake of swan lake)
• Rozencrantz and Guildenstern.
• Fiachra and Conn (Irish legend about the children of Lir who were brothers turned into swans)
• How about “Karom” and “Azov”… as in Dostoyevsky’ s “The Brothers Karamazov”?
• Max and Val
• May I suggest Hansa (Sanskrit word for swan) and Hugh (patron saint of swans—who knew they had one?)
• Castor and Pollux, the Gemini boys
• Laurel & Hardy,
• Simon & Garfunkel
• Mellor and Bucki
• Marsden and Hartley
• Kelly and Declan
• Some combination of the Marx brothers…Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo…
• Jake and Elwood (as in the Blues Brothers)
• Duane and Gregg (as in Allman Brothers Band—one of our favorites!)
• Zeus and Poseidon
• Peter and Anatoly – two of the Tchaikovsky brothers (Peter wrote Swan Lake)
• Snip & Snap
• Holliday and Earp
• Douglas and Audrey
• Adonis & Narcissus
• Lincoln & Apollo
• Constantine and Alexander
• Winston and George
• Maverick and Iceman
• Lennon and McCartney
• Bow and Derek Sewanee
• Love and Hope
• In Tennessee only Jack and Daniel will do.
• Albert and Ernest? Those names reflect the royal British history of the swans, and Albert and Ernest are the brothers who came from Germany to become a part of the royal family in England in the 1840
• William and Andrew, the current princes of the British realm
• Sam and Dave.
• Swift and Sure
• Malcolm and Angus
• Mikhail and Rudolf
• Holly and Oak (in honor of the Celtic legend of the Holly King and the Oak King – representing the struggle of the waxing and waning of the seasons)
• Stonewall & Jackson
• Elliott & Emmett
• Name one of them “Brodrick”, which is an old Scottish name that means Brother. Name the other one “Brother”.
• Conner & Murphy
• Seigfried and Roy…
• Calloway and Beethoven and call them Cal and Bay
• Turner and HoochLuke SwanWalker
• Hekel and Jeckel
• Starsky and Hutch
• Obi-Swan Kenobi
• Herman and Melville
• Marc & Anthony
• Julius & Caesar
• Matt & Damon
• Anderson & Cooper
• Sean & Hannity
• Elton and John
• Billy & Joel
• Willie and Nelson

November 18, 2014

Name That Swan!

Teller's Bride Arriveds

Teller’s Bride Arrives


Tuesday, November 17, 2014 was a joyful day for Teller whose mate Pen passed away last May.  His as yet unnamed bride arrived on a flight from Chicago. This three-year old beauty made herself at home immediately with Teller escorting her very courteously around the main points of the pond.  

Please help us name this gorgeous creature.  Names we like include Pentrey, Mrs. Cob, and Penagin.  (Pen is the generic name for female swans and cob is the generic name for males.)  Let us know which of these suggestions you like best or send us your own suggestion to: [email protected].




July 16, 2014

Buckhorn Inn’s Teller on His Very Own Pond

Swan Teller Korum 1 2014Thanks to Buckhorn Inn Regular Shari Kortum for these great photos of Mr. Majestic (aka Teller the Swan)

November 27, 2013

Ain’t Love Grand?

Swans November 2013

Pentu and her mate Teller are in love with one another and

the snow that fell last night on Buckhorn Pond.

June 16, 2011

Facts about Swans

They are back, Swans Return to Buckhorn

Swans get our vote for the natural world’s most graceful and beautiful creature. The beautiful snowy feathers and long graceful neck have created a picture that many artists have worked hard to recreate. There are logos, associations, organizations, home décor and more inspired by the beauty.

  • The mute swan is the one that most Americans and Europeans are familiar with
  • A swan mates for life
  • There are three species of swans found in North America:
  • Trumpeter: Black bill with red border on lower mandible; the red border may be present on some tundras. The eye is hard to distinguish, fading into the bill and the slope of bill is straighter.
  • Tundra: Black bill, usually with yellow spot of varying size in front of the eye; the spot may be absent on some. The eye is separate from the bill.
  • Mute: Orange bill with prominent black knob (called a caruncle) at base—Pentu and Teller are Mute Swans.
  • The black swan is native to Australia.
  • The adult male is called a cob. He is the only known bird to have a penis.
  • He is both a devoted father and husband. He has been known to use a blow from the “knucklebone” of his wing to defend his family. His blow is said to be strong enough to break a man’s arm according to Donald and Louise Peattie in “Legend with Wings.”
  • The Mute Swan is perhaps the noisiest of all swans having eight different sounds in its repertoire
  • Swans can fly as fast as 50 to 60 miles per hour
  • Some have a wing span of 10 feet
  • Swans were nearing extinction in the 1930s in the U.S. but due to measures taken to protect them their population is again growing.
  • A baby swan or cygnet has a grey feathered coat until it reaches about 20 pounds. Then it too will become snowy white like its parents.
  • The black necked swan is native to South America. 
  • A baby swan pecks at the inside of the egg for 24 hours prior to making its entrance
  • The female swan is referred to as a pen
  • Visually the most noticeable difference between the male and female swan is size, unlike many other animals where the male and female are colored differently
  • The typical weight of a swan is from 11.3 to 15.88 kg (25 to 35 pounds) and height while standing alert 4 feet or 1.2 meters.
  • From the tip of the bill to the end of their tail they measure 5 feet or 1.5 meters.
  • The regal beauty is one of the reasons for the swan to be considered as a royal bird in England and all swans found in the open waters belong to the crown
  • A mother swan has a sound similar to a yipping puppy, which it uses to call the young to her
  • Swans are the largest known flying bird
  • They are not known to attack humans without cause, and actually can remember humans that have been kind to them
  • They dine off of aquatic vegetation, insects, tiny fish and tadpoles. Because they are able to reach far below the water’s surface, they have actually broken plants apart and left them floating on the water which enables smaller birds to find ready food.
  • The mute swan’s neck has 23 vertebrae, which is more than any other bird
  • Their life expectancy in a protected environment is as long as 30 years
  • In Canada the swans of Lost Lagoon have their wing tendons clipped to keep them from flying away. While they cannot fly they can raise themselves above the water surface for a quick get away or to protect their young.


February 11, 2011

Valentine Sweeties Pentu and Teller


Pentu and Teller in Love

February 5, 2011

Pentu the Swan at Home on Buckhorn Pond

Pentu the Swan at Home on Buckhorn Pond

Teller (foreground) is very happy to have his new mate Pentu.

Pentu has made herself at home on Buckhorn Pond and she and Teller are obviously in love.  He looks after her most attentively and she never goes anywhere without him.  They have relished the cold temperatures–they break up the ice with their feet. 

November 26, 2010

Romance of the Swans

As many of you know, our darling female swan Pen was slain last May protecting her nest of eggs. Her mate Teller was distraught after her death as swans usually mate for life. However, we are advised that enough time has passed for him to accept a new mate and we have selected a beauty for him and christened her Pentu. She is set to arrive by plane the second week of December and we are hoping theirs will be a marriage made in Buckhorn Pond. You can keep up with the news of their courtship on Facebook, on our Blog ( www.buckhorninn.com/blog), or follow our tweets (YES! We now twitter.)

December 27, 2009

Pen and Teller

Pen and Teller, the Buckhorn Inn Mute Swans, have reached maturity. We expect they will be raising a new family in Spring 2010.