Sunday, April 5, 2009

Swan Parade, Stratford Ontario

Every year the swans that grace the Avon River in Stratford are over-wintered in a special facility just behind the William Allman Arena. Residents of Stratford and area know that spring doesn't truly arrive until the swans are paraded back to the river accompanied by the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums Band - and that happened today at 2pm sharp. The weather was perfect for the event as was evident by the large crowd (5,000 strong, by some estimates) that assembled for the event.

There were 28 traditional white swans in the parade as well as Chinese Geese, an Emperor Goose, a Bar Headed Goose and two black swans - I believe a Canada Goose snuck in there as well.

Once they were on the water their delight at being back on their familiar territory was apparent by much noise and flapping of wings.

To put a perfect cap on the day we were heading back to Woodstock via Harmony Road and Geoff's sharp vision spotted an unusual silhouette on the wires overhead - an American Kestrel! It was a first for both of us - we've seen a Kestrel at Hawk Creek but never in the wild before. At first we thought this was a Peregrine Falcon but on closer inspection of the photo the black vertical stripes on the head became apparent and it would appear that this is a female Kestrel.
Quite a day.


  1. I've been to Stratford many times but I've never heard of the swan parade. Very interesting photos of a very unique event!

  2. If you start googling "Stratford Swan Parade" around the middle of March next year, you should be able to find the scheduled date for the 2010 parade. They march down the street that runs between the Patterson Theatre and the arena, turn right, walk along the street a little and then walk down a ramp to the Avon. It's great fun to watch but you need to get there early to claim a spot for a good view. I'll look for you and your lovely bride in the crowd next year.

  3. Interesting.....
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. very interesting... lovely goose... that looks really fun...

    btw, i like your blog would you want to exchange links with me? please message me if you want...

  5. Nice post, lots of info, and your photos are wonderful..

  6. I know Stratford so well, but I didn't know about the swans. Fascinating.