Negotiations with beautiful birds can be tough. At the ‘Binnenalster’ lake in Hamburg, our reporter had to bribe swans into agreeing to a photo shoot.
Hamburg, March 2nd, 2019. Update: Berlin, November 10th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — At first, the models were not very motivated. By staring at the photographer the way they did, they conveyed an unambiguous message: “If you want to shoot us with that camera built into your Chinese-made cell phone, go to the bakery located around the corner and get us some bread rolls. Feed them to us in crumbs and you will get your damned photos.”
Moment for Sacrifice
Their high self-esteem was already obvious. Some arrogance was noticeable as well. But what do you expect from creatures this beautiful at one of the nicest spots on the face of the Earth?
While walking over to the bakery I was thinking of getting them cake instead, part of which we would have consumed ourselves. But this was the moment for sacrifice. It was all about getting good shots.
For 1.25 Euro (1.40 U.S. Dollars or 1.10 Pounds Sterling at the time), we fell for the ‘Five Bread Rolls Special’. In no time, we were back at the ‘Binnenalster‘ lake, where the photo models were already waiting impatiently.
“Next time you want us to pose for you, deliver the bread a little faster”, they said. But then, finally, they put on their professional model look. It became obvious they had done this before when they swam towards us in several well-rehearsed formations.
This is how we got the most stunning shots of the most stunning creatures at the most stunning spot of the most stunning city. The sad part of the story: Without bribery we would not have gotten anywhere.
There is something I was unaware of when I fed those swans: Experts say swans and other birds should not be fed bread at all. This is what it says on the ‘Beauty of Birds’ website: “When feeding water fowl, it is best to stay as close to their natural diet as possible. In summer, the diet of swans consists mainly of aquatic vegetation, eaten while swimming, such as underwater plants and algae. They are also insectivores and will eat small insects. At other times of year, they also eat cultivated grains in open fields.”