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September 11, 2018 at 11:06 pm #56686WinnieGuest
Hi I have been watching a pair of swans for three years. Like previous years, this year they have a batch of cygnets. However, 2 weeks ago the female swan has gone missing, leaving the male swan and four cygnets(which was born in April). Is it possible for a female swan she to find another mate while raising their cygnets? Sadly, I know there is a high chance that she was taken by foxes but just wanna know other possibilities! Thank you very much.September 12, 2018 at 6:38 am #56841Swan ExpertKeymaster
First, are you absolutely sure that the female is the swan that is missing? We ask this question because it is usually the female that cares for the cygnets. The male may leave the immediate area to patrol the perimeter of the habitat as we have seen this in several swan pairs. The male will still remain within earshot of the family to return and protect them if necessary. But, 2 weeks is usually a very long time to be separated.
We have also heard about male swans that will find another mate and have 2 families. So, without being sure that it is the female that is missing, it is difficult to know if either of these scenarios fit your situation.
Finally, regardless of gender, there is always the possibility that something happened to the other swan. If attacked by a predator, serious injury or death could be the reason for the separation. If killed by a hunter, state or federal wildlife official (yes, there is a concerted effort to kill Mute Swans so the habitat can be freed for the introduction of the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting), then obviously the swan will not return. If the other swan were to be ill, it would go away so as not to spread disease to the family. If it recovers, it will return.
Again, a 2 week separation from the family is highly unusual, but we have heard of extreme separation for whatever reason, only to have the missing member return. Please let us know how this situation progresses and if the swan parent returns. The Regal SwanSeptember 12, 2018 at 7:24 am #56854WinnieGuest
Thanks for your prompt and detailed reply! Yes, it is the female who left – when they were together, I could recognize that the male swan is bigger, has a bigger knob and a thicker neck than the female swan. Uniquely, this male swan’s head is quite flat, making his head and neck together looks very much like a “7” so that I can still recognize it without comparison with the female. I will keep watching and let you know if the swan parent returns (hope it will!).September 12, 2018 at 10:24 am #56913Swan ExpertKeymaster
You are very welcome. Thank you for caring for the swans. The Regal Swan