Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 5 March 2016
All swans/birds can fly once their wings develop unless:
1. The birds have a genetic problem which causes a problem with the development of the wing structure. Sometimes a condition called angel wing, reverse wing, droop wing, etc., can be caused by genetics or poor diet. If the cygnets (baby swans) receive poor nutrition (too much protein in their diet) during their development, the wings develop faster than the structures that hold them. This causes the wing to droop or turn backwards which keeps the bird from being able to fly.
2. Are pinioned (a portion of the their flight wing is intentionally amputated at 1-3 weeks of age (without anesthesia-due to the bones and nerves not being developed) or with the use of anesthesia after 3 weeks of age).
3. Flight feathers are intentionally clipped (usually conducted when the birds are too old to have the flight portion of the wings amputated as this is an extremely stressful procedure on older birds and can even lead to death during procedure for older birds-not always, but can).
Now, you might ask why a bird would intentionally be prevented from flying. In most states, captive birds, those that were hatched in a captive setting (not wild) are required to be pinioned or clipped so that they cannot fly into the wild and start feral (wild) populations or spread/pick-up diseases to or from wild birds.
Prevention of flight may also protect the birds from predators which they may not be familiar with such as alligators in Florida. If the swans are raised in a captive setting, the owner of the swan should/would make accommodations so that the swans could be protected from predators such as alligators/coyotes, etc. This would also prevent the birds from flying from pond to pond in which these predators may be present. If the birds are wild, then they would usually know about these predators and being able to fly, would be able to escape.
The main reason that swans, especially Mute Swans are prevented from flying in most states is that state and federal wildlife officials misrepresent the Mute Swans as being invasive and detrimental to the habitat and therefore, require that they not fly.
This is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetuated. Mute Swans are actually a sentinel/indicator species in that they alert scientists to problems in the environment such as the presence of heavy metals, such as lead, copper and mercury as well as the presence of harmful micro-organisms.
The real reason that state and federal wildlife officials falsely label the Mute Swan as invasive is that they currently are and have been killing the Mute Swans across the U.S. to open wetland areas for the larger Trumpeter Swans. By killing Mute Swans, their nesting habitats can be overtaken by introduced Trumpeter Swans. State and federal wildlife officials are intentionally introducing the Trumpeter Swans so that they can soon be hunted as a Trophy Waterfowl. The Trophy waterfowl hunting permits cost more than duck or other waterfowl hunting permits which increases wildlife budgets which are being decreased due to lack of hunters and other budgetary cuts.
The intent is to maintain and recruiting hunters so that these permits can be sold. Although state and federal wildlife officials state that this is not the case, last year in Minnesota, Trumpeter Swans were allowed to be hunted by native Americans. Although there is nothing wrong with Native Americans hunting the swans for food and religious purposes, this opened the discussion from hunters who began asking if the numbers of Trumpeter Swans were sufficient to begin hunting by the general public.
This year, several states are opening the hunting of the Trumpeters and so, one can now clearly see that the original intent of hunting was in fact true. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- swans fly? -- xacia -- 4 March 2016
- Re: swans fly? -- The Regal Swan -- 5 March 2016