Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Male mute swan left mate
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 16 April 2016
In Response To: Male mute swan left mate (Brenda)

Hi Brenda:

This is not normal behavior. Hopefully, he was not scared off by a predator or worse, attacked by a predator. If this is not the case, then there is a possibility that the male will return. But, again, this is not normal for a male to leave a nest and its mate as the male's job is to protect the nest and family. She can survive without him, but the nest and young may not. She will need to leave for a short period of time to bathe, preen, feed and rest. Without either of the parent's watching the nest, the greater chances that predators could get to the eggs/young. Additionally, if a predator did attack the male, there is always the possibility that it may come back to attack the female.

We hope that this is not the case and just a male swan taking a break. If the male is a juvenile and the first time nesting, it may not have a clue that it needs to stay around. However, if it has bonded, then it should stick around. Again, this may be an anomaly and the swans do not know what they are doing.

The last scenario could be that the swans were both females. Yes, they will mate and produce eggs (obviously not fertile) and will leave the nest once they figure out that the eggs are not viable. In this case, the other swan may have left the area temporarily if there was a male in the immediate area. So, there is no way to know exactly what occurred. Give it a few more days and if the other swan does not return, then it is safe to assume that the female swan will need to look after the eggs/cygnets by herself. Please let us know how this situation progresses. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Male mute swan left mate -- Brenda -- 14 April 2016
Re: Male mute swan left mate -- The Regal Swan -- 16 April 2016