Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 14 November 2013
How long have the cygnets been by themselves? One or two days? Longer? If longer, then the parents probably are not going to return. Several things may have occurred which caused the parents to leave:
1. The weather turned cold and the parents left for migration and the young swans' wings were not developed enough to fly with the parents.
2. The parents were scared from the area by a predator and left for safety. In cases where the threat is great and the parents think that it is better to abandon, they will live for another day to breed and add to the species counts instead of risking the whole family's lives.
3. Unfortunately, Michigan and some other states are now culling Mute Swans. If the parents flew and were killed, then obviously, this would be the reason that the young cygnets are still alive. The parents may not have even had to fly. Individuals who are responsible for culling are entering ponds and lakes at night and killing swans. If the swan parents were killed, the cygnets may have fled for their lives before being stomped to death or decapitated like the parents. This may be the reason that the cygnets have been left to defend for themselves.
The obvious solution would be to try and capture the cygnets and get them to a No-Kill facility so that they will ensure that the young cygnets are provided a safe home, free from culling, predators and other issues that will shorten their lives. If you can capture the cygnets and cannot find a suitable home, please let us know and we will try to find them a good home. The Regal Swan