Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Swan sudden death
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 9 January 2014
In Response To: Swan sudden death (Jim)

Hi Jim:

Without having seen the swan's demise or having a necropsy, there is no definitive way of knowing what actually occurred. Several possibilities come to mind:

1. The swan was chased by the other swan due to limited food or water resources and was chased from the pond. Not wanting to be chased or beaten, the swan looked for shelter elsewhere.

2. Can the swans fly? If the swan could fly and/or the pond frozen, the swan could have been trying to fly out of the area and the inclement weather slammed it into the ground or it flew into an obstruction not being able to see.

3. If the pond was frozen and/or the swan sought shelter on the bank, a predator (domesticated dog, cat or wildlife, raccoon, fox, coyote) could have climbed onto the ice or grabbed the swan while it was on the bank. Usually, if a coyote or fox grabs a swan, the head or neck appears stripped since this is the part of the body that they grab when attacking.

4. The swan sustained internal injuries when it went through the screened porch or possibly ran/flew into something.

5. The swan was sick and disoriented and possibly suffering from some internal trauma or neurological compromise from either an injury or illness which caused its demise.

If the first swan died from an illness, then there is the possibility that the other swan may eventually suffer from the same illness if it is contagious. If the pond is frozen or very little water available for the swan, then it could drown, starve or a predator can access the ice and attack the swan. As you can see, there are numerous possibilities and to know if the other swan is in danger is a very difficult call.

We would suggest that the remaining swan be closely observed. If the swan is acting strange or the pond is frozen, we would suggest that you might ask a wildlife rescue facility to help to try capture the swan and have a veterinarian exam the bird. If the pond is frozen, then we would suggest that the swan be kept for a couple of days indoors for observation, treatment, let it get its strength back and return it back to the pond after the inclement weather has departed. Even though there may be more inclement weather forthcoming, the swan will at least get warm and have some food and water prior to returning it back to the pond habitat. If the swan needs more time indoors or in a sheltered area to recover, it could be kept in the shelter until spring. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Swan sudden death -- Jim -- 9 January 2014
Re: Swan sudden death -- The Regal Swan -- 9 January 2014