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Swan Expert

Hi Shari

This situation may be a try and see. If the cygnet is returned within 24 hrs., then there is a chance that the parents will take it back. You will need to have a boat nearby if a rescue is needed. You should observe the family’s interaction for at least 3 hours to make sure there is no aggression to the cygnet. Although something can still happen, if within the first three hours the parents accept the cygnet, it should be fine.

Since it is an older cygnet, the other cygnets should accept it. If it has been more than 24 hrs., you can still try a reunion, but you will definitely need a boat to intervene quickly.

In either case, if you see any aggression or the parents do not let the cygnet enter or exit the water to feed or swim or preen, you need to find it a safe good home free from predators. If the cygnet is less than 5 months of age, it may need to be placed at a sanctuary or rehab facility until it gets older and can be released. Is the cygnet pinioned (rendered unable to fly)? If so, then it cannot be released on its own in the wild. Also, some states are killing the Mute Swans if they are found in the wild. Wildlife officials kill the Mute Swans so they can introduce larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting. So, it is imperative that a safe captive setting be sought for the cygnet if you are in one of these states. The Regal Swan