Mute Swan

Cygnus Olor[i]

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Elegant and beautiful. People just love to watch these beautiful bird gracefully glide across calm waters of ponds and streams. People also often fail to notice that these waterfowl are not only non-native[ii] but also have a deep, abiding hatred for anything perceived as a threat – and they consider just about everything to be a threat, especially during breeding season.[iii] However, if you are what they consider to be a safe distance they will leave you alone.

Characteristics:

Very large waterfowl, the mute swan is five feet from nose to tail, and has a six foot wingspan.[iv] Adults are white, and young are gray or white. They have an orange bill will a black knob at the base.[v]Poorly named, they are not mute, they make hissing sounds as well as bugling and some other sounds.[vi]

These birds are found in much of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the eastern half of Massachusetts. They are found in urban and suburban areas in the coastal Mid-Atlantic as well,[vii] and they’re expanding their range – quite rapidly! [viii] They are not native to America, but were in fact introduced from Europe[ix]in the late 19th Century.[x] They are actually quite invasive, are quite aggressive and damage the ecosystems of where they live[xi] as they uproot, devour and destroy everything edible they come across, which to them is mostly aquatic plants.[xii]

Mute swans will build a nest in early April, made of vegetation and lined with feathers.[xiii] This is usually done in shallow water.[xiv] The nest is reused and repaired each year.[xv] The nests are aggressively defended against all perceived threats.[xvi] They lay three to six eggs and the young often stay with the parents for up to 15 weeks.[xvii]

Swans are not known for being friendly and easy to get along with

pokemonswan

A pair of mute swans are a popular tourist attraction in Boston. They spend the warmer months in Boston’s Public Gardens, and the colder months in the Franklin Park Zoo.[xviii] However, like the species they belong to, these two are poorly named; the names Juliet and Juliet would be more apropos, as both birds are female, and yet the birds have bonded and no attempt will be made to break them up as they seem to be happy together.[xix]

So go ahead, enjoy their beauty and elegance, but from a safe distance, which really isn’t all that far, but you will quickly find out if you are too close.

[i] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[ii] Clapp, David E.  “Breeding Bird Atlas I Species Accounts: Mute Swan” 1975-9 Mass Audubon  http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba1/find-a-bird/(id)/44 16 JUL2016

[iii] Naswa, Daniel and Geohegan, Tom “Who, What, Why: How Dangerous are Swans” 17APR2012 BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-17736292 17JUL2016

[iv] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[v] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[vi] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[vii] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[viii] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Breeding Bird Atlas Accounts 2016 Mass Audubon http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba2/find-a-bird/(id)/100 10JUL2016

[ix] Sibley, David Allen “National Audubon Society Guide to Birds” pg  72, 2000 , Alfred A Knopf

[x] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mute_swan 10JUL2016

[xi] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015, Cornell University https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mute_swan/id 10JUL2016

[xii] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 2015, Cornell University https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/mute_swan/id 10JUL2016

[xiii] Clapp, David E.  “Breeding Bird Atlas I Species Accounts: Mute Swan” 1975-9 Mass Audubon  http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba1/find-a-bird/(id)/44 16 JUL2016

[xiv] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Breeding Bird Atlas Accounts 2016 Mass Audubon http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba2/find-a-bird/(id)/100 17JUL2016

[xv] Author Unknown “Mute Swan” Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mute_swan 10JUL2016

[xvi] Clapp, David E.  “Breeding Bird Atlas I Species Accounts: Mute Swan” 1975-9 Mass Audubon  http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba1/find-a-bird/(id)/44 16 JUL2016

[xvii] Clapp, David E.  “Breeding Bird Atlas I Species Accounts: Mute Swan” 1975-9 Mass Audubon  http://www.massaudubon.org/our-conservation-work/wildlife-research-conservation/statewide-bird-monitoring/breeding-bird-atlases/bba1/find-a-bird/(id)/44 16 JUL2016

[xviii] Toussaint, Kristin “Romeo and Juliet: A Very Massachusetts Love Story Between two Swans” 07MAY2015 Boston.com http://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2015/05/07/romeo-and-juliet-a-very-massachusetts-love-story-between-two-swans 16JUL2016

[xix] Toussaint, Kristin “Romeo and Juliet: A Very Massachusetts Love Story Between two Swans” 07MAY2015 Boston.com http://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2015/05/07/romeo-and-juliet-a-very-massachusetts-love-story-between-two-swans 16JUL2016

 

Photo credits

Top photo: me

Mean as fuck meme: the only source I can seem to find is FUCKACHU (@theladbible) originally posted on Instagram  https://onsizzle.com/i/what-pokemon-is-this-its-mean-as-fuck-fuckachu-theladbible-1364556 17Jul2016   Note: I originally found it on Facebook, can’t seem to find it when I search for it there,  though I was able to save it when I found it.

 

Note: I wanted to post this much sooner, but had computer problems. Bleh 😛

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