Swan Expert

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  • in reply to: Swan family separated #157575
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Carol

    This whole situation is a fiasco and the homeowners association obviously had no idea, probably spoke to someone from the local state wildlife office. These wildlife offices want all Mute Swans dead so they can introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting. Unfortunately, your homeowners association is now part of the killing program.

    No cygnet (baby swan) should be separated from their parents until they are at least 6 months of age. The cygnets cannot protect themselves from predators or receive education from their parents on how to survive and become swans.

    The Mute Swans are no more aggressive than any other wildlife protecting their young. As long as no one is approaching the nests or families, harrassing with jet skis, boats, etc., the parent’s defensiveness would have dissipated within 2-3 months. All anyone needed to do was stay away from the family. So, again, the HOA really had no basis for removing the swans unless someone complained and wanted to use this as an excuse for removal knowing the cygnets would eventually die and problem alleviated. The entire family should have been removed as a whole if they wanted them removed. In all probability, the parents were killed not relocated and residents were not told. We hope that we are wrong, but have seen this inhumane “relocation” by HOA’s too many times.

    The cygnets may eventually try to fly awa, but will most likely stay because they were not taught how to fly or go somewhere else., All will get along fine together. No, there is no need for checking for gender for fear of genetic defects. Birds are not like mammals, can interbreed with no issues.

    What actually needs to be done in this situation is to capture the 3 cygnets and relocate them now. The parents will not take them back after such a long period of seperation, so they need to be relocated somewhere that they will be cared for and protected. When breeding age is achieved, the same issue will be raised again, and these swans and their families will be seperated. It is obvious the HOA does not want the swans and the best thing to do is find a safe protective caring home for them now. The Regal Swan Foundation

    in reply to: parent swans reactions to a dead cygnet #157483
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Nancy

    Do you have predators in or near your pond such as raccoons, coyotes, fox, mink, otters, snapping turtles, alligators, etc., or domestic predators such as dogs. Any of these animals could have killed the cygnet or seriously injured it before it died. Were there any signs of trauma to the cygnet? If this was a predator in your pond, it would be a good reason for the swans to escape to the neighboring pond and not want to return to your pond. Could a human have chased or carried the swans to the other pond?

    If the swans had to walk to the neighboring pond, they may have been attacked while crossing and know it is safer to stay in the water.

    Another consideration would be that you live in a state where wildlife officials or their solicited volunteers go into lakes and ponds and kill the Mute swans. They have been doing this for decades under the permission of federal, state and local lawmakers in order to introduce the larger Trumpeter swans for Trophy waterfowl hunting (all at taxpayer expense). If this is the case, soon your swans may be eradicated.

    Did something change in your pond? Was there construction in or near your pond? Was there an algae outbreak, lowering of water, or other disturbance that could affect water quality or food resources?

    We know we are asking more questions than providing you answers, but the cause for the swans to leave must be addressed before the potential for the swans to return is considered. If something has changed or a predator is present, the swans will only return when they feel they are safe once again. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan female moving twigs in the water in July #156690
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Chris

    You are very welcome. Yes, swans have such calming effects. Enjoy! The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan female moving twigs in the water in July #156653
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Chris

    Great question. The female swan is exhibiting normal swan behavior. Swans will tidy their environment. We have seen swans completely remove dead debris from a hedge of bushes. This cleaning not only keeps the area free from debris, but gives the swans something to occupy their time. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Central Florida cygnet/swan sanctuary? #156032
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Andrew

    Since you have reached out to us on our email, I will be contacting you shortly. There is not enough space on this forum to address all of the issues. I look forward to speaking to you. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Mating for life #155115
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Courtney

    The contention that swans mate for life is general knowledge that has been known throughout history. It is also known that there are some individual anomalies that have and do occur such as having 2 mates at the same time and/or abandoning a mate. There are several reasons that could explain this atypical behavior such as predators, some disturbance in the area that might have scared a mate away, too very young swans or one of the swans is not suitable (infertile) for mating. Nature works to ensure propagation of a species and is the reason that species members look to the healthiest and strongest members to mate and carry on the lineage.

    As far as mates, if the male mate dies, the female swan will usually re-pair with another male, but this is an individual attribute. If a female mate dies, the male swan will usually not re-pair, again an individual attribute. All of this also depends on how long the mates were bonded.

    If no opposite gender swans are available, young male swans raised together will bond with each other, attempt to mate and will nest. Obviously, no eggs will be produced.

    If no opposite gender swans are available, female swans raised together will bond, attempt to mate and will nest. Eggs will be produced, but will obviously be infertile. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Swan safety #154456
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Roger

    Yes, floating nesting platforms have been used for swans, but this is an individual attribute as to whether the swans will use a floating nesting platform in a wild setting if they are more comfortable or familiar with nesting on the banks or in grasses of a waterway. Since each habitat has its own unique qualities as to what may safely work (i.e., current speed, tethering requirements, etc., we would recommend you contact Wendy Hermon, Coordinator, Swan Support in Datchet. Wendy knows the various areas and the materials that may be applicable to your situation. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: mating Royal mutes female neck all bloody #154023
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Bill

    We need more information to provide an adequate response:

    1. How did you separate the swans, i.e., did you remove her from the area and place her on another pond or lake?

    2. How long did you separate her?

    3. Do you have a garage, bathroom, barn or other safe area away from predators, objects that can be harmful and has ample ventilation?

    4. Are there predators in the area and is the male responsible for protecting her?

    We ask these questions, because the answers will determine what can be safely done to provide the female a rest from tthe male’s advances.

    If you have a safe area to hold a swan for a couple of days and the female swan is capable of protecting herself, then we would recommend the following:

    Capture the male swan and place him in a safe secure area free from predators or objects that can be harmful, i.e., a walk-in shower that can be barricaded, barn stall that can be closed and free from predators entering, digging or crawling over to access the swan. Provide the male with a clean bowl of food and water and hold him for 2 days. By capturing the male, his hormone levels will have a chance to cool off, the female can rest. If you remove the female, the male may claim “king of the mountain” and you may have a problem reintroducing her back into the habitat.

    If you cannot separate the swans, then the male is going to continue trying to mate until his hormone levels return to normal.This is going to place an undue stress on the female which can result in serious injury to her. We hope this information is beneficial. The Regal Swan

    in reply to: Baby swan on it’s back #154007
    Swan Expert
    Keymaster

    Hi Shanna

    No, this is not normal behavior unless the cygnet remained in this position for a matter of seconds prior to righting itself. When cygnets are taught to turn upside down with their necks under the water to reach sub-aquatic vegetation, they may flip over because they have not learned to properly balance themselves. However, the cygnets will right themselves immediately and assume a normal upright position in the water. If a cygnet cannot immediately upright itself, it could mean that the cygnet is too weak, suffering from an illness or neurological issue. Usually, the cygnet will not survive if it cannot assume balance. The Regal Swan

    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

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 90 total)