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Mute Swans (Cygnus olor)

Posted on Dec 16, 2014

If you live in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region of Western New York you are far more accustomed to spotting Tundra Swans rather than these Mute Swans (Cygnus olor), a beautiful species that likely takes the title for most attractive non-native invasive bird in North America. Mute Swans call Eurasia their homeland but were brought to North America by humans and have taken up residence in a number of areas since the late 19th century, especially those in the east and near suburban areas and cities. They are a threat to native waterfowl because of how aggressive they are, a behavior I can attest to witnessing on numerous occasions. If they are breeding on a pond then “good luck!” to any other duck that attempts to nest there as they will attack and even kill some. They will be aggressive towards humans as well and feed on aquatic plants that our other native species need as a food source. This is not to blame them or provide an answer as to what should be done – it’s a difficult question. I thought the visible garbage in the photo was a good example of how many problems we have that need cures. Conservation and protection of our native avian species is never easy.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) juvenile feeding in marsh-0174

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) pair feeding in marsh-0172

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator