Stoughton swan may have a new mate, residents say
After months of isolation, the beloved swan of Harrison’s Pond that lost its mate appears to have found a new love.
In May, residents of the pond mourned the death of a female swan fatally injured in a scuffle with a raccoon or cat.
The female, named “Destiny Hope” by neighbors, was believed to have been protecting her nest and eight eggs when she was wounded, according to the animal officer. She was brought to the New England Wildlife Center, but did not survive.
After the swan died, her male partner of six years, a mute swan whom local children named “Dong Wong,” guarded the nest and their eggs.
Neighbors were so impressed with his efforts that they tried to help. They encouraged him by providing an aquarium tank filled with food nearby so he wouldn’t have to leave his post. But predators attacked the eggs and he eventually gave up.
For a few weeks, neighbors said, the swan spent his time in the pond or with ducks on the side of the road. As summer wore on, he became isolated and stayed away from neighbors, said Carol Neville, who has lived in her home across from the pond for more than 45 years.
“It wasn’t like him at all — he was very antisocial,” Neville said.
Then, right around Halloween, a second swan arrived in the pond, which is located off of Central Street.
And just like that, Dong Wong sprang back to life.
Once again, he is flying across the pond and walking across Lakewood Drive up to Neville’s door to beg for food. He waits for her to come outside, walk him back across the street and feed him treats.
“He loves bread and Cheerios,” she said.
This week, Dong Wong started bringing the new swan across the street. The two are hanging out near the old nest, she said.
“I’m guessing she is a female and he is happy again,” Neville said.
Determining the gender can be difficult, but the new swan appears to be female. Dong Wong is larger and his legs are black. The new swan’s legs are a tan color. Females tend to be slightly smaller and have lighter colored legs, Neville said.
“I really don’t think he would tolerate another swan in his pond, unless it was female,” she said.
Neighbors and others who stop while driving by are also noticing his changed behavior, according to Neville, who goes out to talk to passers-by. Lately, Dong Wong is coming out to the side of the road to greet people and take treats, she said. The new swan is following him around and taking food as well.
“I think he has found a really good friend,” Neville said.