Swan Expert

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  • in reply to: Juvenile Tundra Swan has lost its parents. #149592
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi David

    The young swan may have been chased by his parents which usually happens once the juveniles get older, may have gotten lost from the rest of the flock during the winter migration to your location, or is using your site as a stopover until it leaves to rejoin his flock. If there are other swans in your area, it means that there is ample food resources for the swans until they leave in the spring. The Mute Swans will teach him where to find food. Since he is a juvenile, he is probably leery of people. Once he figures out the other swans are getting fed by you, he will probably get smart enough to realize he also wants more food. It just make take some time. As long as your pond/lake does not freeze over, he should be able to find food and will be fine. Thanks for caring for the swans. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan vs. Rat #149197
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Caplan

    Very interesting question. Depending on the size of the rat, there really should not be a problem unless the rat tries to enter the nest and eat the eggs. The major issue is to feed the swans in the water approximately 3 feet from the bank. If you leave food onshore, it will attract rats, ants and other pests.

    Now, having said all of this, if the rat is not a rat, but rather a mink or such a larger animal, it can attack and kill the cygnets (baby swans). If the rat were to swim further into the water, the swans would probably try to drown it. We hope this info is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Aggressive Male Swan Killing Cygnets #147073
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi

    First, Trumpeter Swans are a protected species because U.S. and state wildlife officials are trying to reintroduce the species for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. This is why these same wildlife officials (since the late 80’s and continuing today) kill Mute Swans.

    This Mute Swan killing program and reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans has been rejected by swan specialists and the general public for the exact reason you are citing. Trumpeter swans are much larger than other swan species and much more defensive of their territory.

    It is a known fact that a male swan may or may not take a mate. So, the first thing to do is not try introducing any other female Trumpeters on the lake.

    Trumpeter Swans and basically, all male swan species will try to remove another family’s cygnets from their immediate territory. If a cygnet enters another territory or gets in the middle of a fight between two adult male swans, they can get injured or kilked just from the sheer size of the adult swans.

    It is highly unlikely that any adult swan is going to go out of its way to drown cygnets. Unless someone is physically watching 24 hours and sees this behavior, it is highly unlikely. If the cygnets are ill or injured, they may be abandoned by the parents, and this will get them into trouble. Even a cygnet’ own parents will attempt to drown them if there is something wrong. This is nature’s way to prevent illness from spreading to the flock.

    If there are many cygnets being lost, you need to look at illness or predation as the cause. Egrets, Herons, hawks, turtles, fish, raccoons, etc., will feast on cygnets.

    Back to your question of what can be done to quarrantine the Trumpeter, you cannot. He is a protective species and your park had to get a federal license to have him or other Trumpeters. If they do not have the license, they are in violation of federal wildlife laws. Since this swan seems to have been at the lake for years, then they definitely would have had to receive a license. If anything happens to the swan, the park is mandated to alert wildlife officials that the bird was harmed, killed or died which can cause an investigation into the park’s policies. If the swan is placed in a pen or removed from the habitat for any purpose, it can be deemed as inhumane care. Therefore, since the swan is exhibiting normal behavior, he needs to be left alone. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Female swan has her neck bent back between her wings #146587
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Sonia

    If the neck is bent back, there could be various reasons:

    Lead, botulism or other poisoning, illness, injury or neurological trauma. The male knows she is in trouble and if she is sick will try to remove her from the habitat. This is nature’s way of preventing the spread of illness in the environment.

    You will need many kayaks or boats to gently surround her and herd onto land or slowly enclose her between the boats/kayaks to capture her. There is great urgency to this capture so that whatever is wrong can be quickly diagnosed and treated. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Determining our lake’s carrying capacity #146586
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi James

    We are frequently asked this question and have consulted for numerous sites for the past 30 years. An 80-acre lake can hold 100 swans with little impact, so if your lake is as large as you indicate, 25 swans pose no harm. Additionally, the swans will help trim back certain types of sub aquatic vegetation (SAV) and will eat certain types of algae. Furthermore, current studies show:

    Mute Swans are no more aggressive than any other wildlife protecting their family and habitat.

    Mute Swans are not detrimental to other waterfowl as the swans are more aggressive towards their own species.

    Mute Swans feed on sub-aquatic vegetation because their long necks allow them to feed below the water’s surface. The swans trim back the SAV, but do not deplete the SAV. In doing so, they increase the biodiversity of the habitat by attracting other species. For instance, dabbling ducks feed on SAV brought to the surface by the Mute Swans. This SAV is a source of food for the dabbling ducks that could not otherwise reach below the water’s surface to feed.

    Mute Swans are a Sentinel species alerting scientists to the presence of heavy metals and harmful microrganisms in the habitat. In fact, in Sweden there are 10,000 Mute Swans in an area smaller than what you are describing. If one swan dies, Swedish law mandates an immediate investigation to insure that a larger problem within the environment is not occurring.

    So, you have a healthy population of Mute Swans and if properly monitored, the Mute Swans can help provide information on the health of your lake’s environment. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi M.L.

    We have not seen anything in literature regarding this issue, but that doesn’t mean that it does not exist. We just have not seen it. Yes, there are several reasons for this behavior:

    The male has already been in a scuffle, lost the battle and is extremely frightened and avoiding another fight. He could been injured and trying to recover before engaging in a future battle. There is also one other reason that could be in play. During the summer months, usually in July, but could be later, swans moult. This means old feathers drop out and new feathers are grown. At the time of moult, the birds cannot fly. Each parent will moult at a different time so that at least one parent can fight and fly to escape if necessary. This might be the behavior you are seeing. Once the male’s feathers are ready for flight, you may see him engaging with the other male. On another note, most male swans (and most animals) may significantly injure or even possibly kill another male, but they usually do not try to injure a female. Although this can happen, it may be by accident as the male is larger. Remember the old adage, “a man should not hit a woman”, even applies in the wild because a female is more valuable to increase the flock/herd as she can mate with another member if something happens to her mate and she can be taken as a mate by a stronger rival member.
    Male swans can also severely injure smaller cygnets that get in the way if a scuffle occurs or they enter someone else’s territory. This why one parent must always be able to fight and protect their young. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Mates reunited? #141725
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Nancy

    This could very well be the old mate. Swans are known for their fidelity, but there have been reports of a male swan running two nests at the same time with two different mates. This may be nature’s way of ensuring offspring, if there is a problem with reproduction in one of the swans. Although this could be the old mate, there is still a possibility that this is a new mate or even one of the swan’s (now adult) cygnets. Yes, swan parents and siblings can and will mate with each other if another mate is not available. In-breeding between birds is not genetically problematic as it is in mammals. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Cygnets bent legs #140923
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Jennifer

    A hobble might work, but you need to get this cygnet to an experienced avian/waterfowl veterinarian immediately. This immediate intervention is critical in the survival of the cygnet as any delay could mean that the cygnet may never be able to walk or climb up and down banks to access water. Only assessment by an experienced veterinarian will determine if this cygnet can be helped. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan family being attacked by second male swan #139865
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Holly

    Unfortunately, this is normal swan behavior. The one way to intervene is to get someone with wildlife rescue expertise to try and capture the new family and relocate them to another pond further away from your area. This relocation may be difficult if you live in a state where wildlife officials want to kill all Mute Swans in order to introduce thd larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting.

    If you cannot get someone to capture and relocate (you need to inquire very cautiously so as not to alert wildlife officials to your area), then there is another alternative. You or someone need to get a boat–Not a kayak or rowboat, but a large enough boat to get between the two families and slowly chase the new family away from the island and back towards the direction that they came. You will need to be very cautious so that the male swan does not hurt anyone in the boat should he become defensive and that he or his family does not get hurt. That is the reason for a fairly large boat. You may have to harrass him consistently to get him to move his family which could take a couple of hours and even days. Understand that he us also trying to find a safe territory for his family as he may have been threatened and removed from his original habit. We are approaching September, which is the time for migration, and many swan families are trying to teach their young how to fly for migration and they need a fairly large area for flying. If your area has a clear area for takeoff and landing, this may be the reason why the new family appeared. If the new cygnet family can fly, harrassment may cause them to leave quicker as the parents will take them away. If the cygnets from the new family cannot fly, the male may be looking for another area for better food resources or safety from predators. The key to all of this is to find out why they left their area. If you can tell me what area you live (state and city), we might have a contact in your area that can help. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Death of One of a Mated Pair #139662
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Dennis

    The best thing to do in this situation is to do nothing. Let your male swan live in peace on his pond for the remainder of his life.

    Male swans typically do not re-pair with another female swan, especially after having spent most of their lives with a previous mate. This is an individual attribute, but usually holds true with most male swans.

    The problems with introducing another mate besides him not accepting it are:

    1. His age. You do not know when nature will take its course and he is at an age that makes it harder to determine exactly how many more years he might have. So, if you get him a mate and he doesn’t live much longer, you will be right back where you are now trying to find another mate for the female and hope they pair. His fertility will certainly be affected by age so there are no guarantees that he will be able to produce cygnets.

    There are U.S. laws regarding the breeding of Mute Swans as federal and state wildlife officials have been trying to kill the species for years. Wildlife officials want to kill this species to free up habitat to introduce another species, Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting. Therefore, you may or may not be able to import a mute swan without a permit or breed the swans without a permit. You will need to have all cygnets pinioned, permanently rendered unable to fly by a licensed veterinarian at 1-3 weeks of age. You will also be responsible for all cygnets including finding a new home for them as fights will ensue every year during mating season. Mute Swans can have 1-8 cygnets a year which means you will eventually need to find a new home for many of them. All of this may mean that you become a breeder under the law requiring a permit and other regulations.

    2. You will need to build a pen, enclosed top to bottom (so no predators can climb into or dig under the pen–must be half in water and half on land with zero entrance into pen–no steep banks, must have feeder inside) so that the new mate can get accustomed to the male swan, you and the new environment. She must stay in this pen for approximately 3-6 weeks to ensure there is no aggressiveness on the part of either swan, that she does not wander and get herself killed because she is not familiar with the new environment and the presence of predators. No matter if you get new swans, they will still have to remain in a pen to acclimate them to you, the male swan and the habitat.

    3. If you introduce a female or another pair of swans, you risk them being chased by him from the habitat and into a predator’s area.

    4. If the new female does not get along with him, she could chase him out of the habitat because she will be stronger and younger than him. If he were to prevail, he could seriously injure or kill her.

    5. If you get another pair, during mating season, there will be fights and he could be seriously injured or killed by the new swans as they will be stronger than him. In nature, strength prevails and he will be displaced.

    You are only setting up your male swan to much stress by introducing any new swan. Your pond is and has been his home and it is not fair to him to have to defend it every day against new swans or have him displaced. You certainly do not want to introduce another male as a pal because one or both will be injured or killed.

    The best thing to do is just let him enjoy his habitat free from stress and you enjoy him through his older years. I hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Swan Expert.
    in reply to: Cygnet walking #138247
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    You are very welcome. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Cygnet walking #138048
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Patrick

    This is normal behavior as the cygnet will get stronger as it begins regular feeding, swimming and climbing banks. Then, the cygnet will reach the “ugly duckling” stage where its body size looks disproportionate to its legs. The cygnet will once again go through a resting phase as it’s wings are not yet developed to counterbalance it’s weight over developing leg structures. Both of these are normal growth stages. As long as the parents wait for him and continue to guard and care for him, all is well. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Normal for a pair of swans to separate for a bit? #136877
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi

    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

    in reply to: Cygnets from different family #136187
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Eva

    You are very welcome. Swans usually do not adopt a cygnet from another family. Adult swans will chase a straying cygnet from their territory and may accidently kill the cygnet in the process. Geese will take in orphans or strays, but unfortunately, swans will not. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Eggs not hatching #135888
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Beverly

    Incubation does not take place until the last egg is laid. Then, it takes between 30-45 days for hatching. Usually, swans and other birds will not waste precious energy to continue sitting on a nest of non-viable eggs. So, if the swans are still paying attention to the eggs, it usually means that there is still a chance for hatching. Hopefully, you will see cygnets soon. The Regal Swan

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 81 total)