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There is a family of mute swans at my in-laws place in Tvedestrand, Norway, who come by at least once a day. They are two adults and three cygnets, and I have never seen them separated from each other. They came to the garden a little over an hour ago, but about 20 minutes ago, the mother and the cygnets left. The father is still laying on the grass here, relaxing. I’m just wondering if this is normal behaviour? Are swan pairs sometimes separated?
Yes, it is normal for swan families to separate for short periods of time. It is the primary job of the mother swan to care for the cygnets while the male’s responsibiity is to oversee the territory and protect the family. The male may join the family at any time to swim and feed with them, but he will also spend some time on his own guarding the area. The Regal Swan