ENGLEWOOD — When photographer Mary Lundeberg read about a trumpeter swan that had recovered after being shot and left for dead by a hunter, she decided to take action and share the swan’s story in the form of a children’s book, ‘Spirit of the Swan.’
‘I really love swans,’ said Lundeberg, who is a frequent contributor of wildlife photos to the Englewood Sun.
Lundeberg’s sweeping panoramas and hard-won images of Englewood-area beaches and birds often present Sun readers with National Geographic-quality photos.
‘I think we can learn a lot from nature,’ Ludeberg said. ‘So I thought when I read the story (about the swan) it would make a really interesting children’s book — the story of a swan who was shot, rehabilitated, then reunited with his mate later.’
Lundeberg collaborated with Tammy Wolfe, a colleague and photographer.
Lundeberg found inspiration in swans. ‘They show both how humans can hurt a population, then also how we can bring them back if we want to reintroduce them and protect them,’ she said.
The story celebrates the resilience of swans.
Lundeberg spends part of the year in Englewood and travels here periodically. She and Wolfe spent time in Wisconsin photographing swans for the book.
Paula Kaye, a friend and photographer met Lundeberg four years ago in Englewood. They took up photography as a hobby and spent a lot of time throughout the winter exploring different Englewood area keys and parks, taking pictures of birds.
‘We’ve watched nests down at Stump Pass State Park,’ Kaye said. ‘We watched great horned owl nests from the time the babies hatched until they fledged.’
Lundeberg, a professor at Michigan State University, says she spends an exorbitant amount of time doing nature photography, a lot of it with Kaye.
‘We’re almost birds of a feather because we could go out and spend hours, really the whole day, following a trail, sitting or standing and watching birds,’ Kaye said. ‘(Lundeberg) shoots with a Canon and she’s got a 600mm lens. She’s a tiny little thing and she can get great pictures without disturbing their natural habitat. So we get into our kayaks and we’ll go into little keys. We’ll spend days walking at Stump Pass to watch the owls and the eagles out there. She loves Ding Darling State Park and Myakka State Park.’
While writing ‘Spirit of the Swan,’ Lundeberg decided on the names based on what she knew of swans.
‘I’m trying to teach children about nature through stories,’ Lundeberg said. ‘So Cob is the name of the main male swan character. Male swans are called cobs. Female swans are called pens, but we wanted (her) to sound female, so we called the mom Penny. Ziggie is short for cygnet. ‘Cygnet’ is kind of hard to read — that was in the first draft. A friend just said, ‘Why don’t you just call her Ziggie?”
So far over 1,000 copies of the book have been sold, most through Kindle and Amazon.com.
Lundeberg and Wolfe have since shot new photos for a revision of the book. The revision will be released in November.