Mute swans, moved from Rantoul, produce four offspring
LODA – Hilda and Huey are the parents of quadruplets.
The mute swans that had been removed from a Rantoul lake and reunited at a lake in rural Loda have four young ones.
Arla Boehme, who lives at the rural Loda site with her husband, Herb, said the female paraded her new offspring before them recently.
"Hilda was gone for about a month," Arla Boehme said. "She hid in the weeds and cattails and wouldn't come out. We just left her alone."
She said she went outside one day recently to feed the male swan, Huey, "and here was Hilda with four babies."
She said the sight shocked her.
"We're sure glad to have them," she said.
Arla Boehme said she began to wonder whether the cygnets would be safe from coyotes, which have roamed the area for years.
"Sometimes our dog barks all night because of the coyotes," she said. "There's just not much you can do. We've lost chickens (to coyotes)."
So, she became concerned when the mother came up to the house to eat with only three young ones trailing her. But not to worry. Hilda raised a wing to reveal one of the cygnets riding on her back.
The Boehmes feed the swans bread and corn.
So far, the adult swans have not been aggressive toward the humans due to the presence of the babies. But Huey has been ornery toward the young ones, she said.
"I have seen the male pick them up and toss them in the air," she said. "The mother is right there and goes after him. She chases him off and gets them in a little huddle so she can watch them all."
The adult swans had made Glenwood Lake in Rantoul their home but were removed earlier this year because their presence violates village ordinance.