Sweet photo shows father swan caring for young after their mother died

Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 11:09 AM EDT
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BOSTON, MA (WHDH) – An image on social media showing a father swan on the Charles River in Boston is one of the best wildlife photos of the year.

The father swan is shown carrying his babies on his back, following the death of their mother.

“I can relate on some level, I think, to what it’s like to be a new dad struggling with a challenging situation you need to overcome,” said amateur photographer Matthew Raifman, who captured the heartwarming moment with his camera.

Raifman and his wife have a 20-month-old toddler and said he felt a connection.

“I felt sort of a kindler spirit with this papa swan that is just trying to be resilient in the face of a pretty challenging life,” Raifman said.

His photos show the three gray cygnets huddled together while their father raises its wings on either side to form a cradle.

“As I was looking through the viewfinder, I was just blown away by that opportunity and that really cool experience I was having to see this baby swan family on top of its dad,” Raifman explained.

Raifman immediately called his wife and told her it was one of the best photos he has ever taken. He says he’s received so much engagement on the shot.

“I think that we are going through, we’ve gone through as a society, this really challenging moment for the last two years,” Raifman said. “And there is something about the bittersweet element of this experience, that this swan that was challenged in this way, that overcame it, but lost a family member... It’s just something we can really relate to.”

Wildlife officials performed a necropsy on the mother swan in an effort to find her cause of death, but couldn’t find a specific cause.

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