Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 23 March 2014
Usually, swans will leave an area and look for a more hospitable area for the winter. However, this winter was brutal and many species got caught in cold fronts that they could not readily escape or they were blown off course. For those species, some survived while others did not. In the case of swans, most are constructed to live on the Tundra and very cold weather. It is the limited food sources or frozen ponds and lakes that pose the major problems. Just like you found the swan frozen on the ice, besides freezing, the swan could drown if it falls through a patch and cannot exit the water, the swan could be attacked by a predator that can walk across the ice or it can starve from limited food. Thankfully, you came upon the swan in time to free it before it froze and allowed it to return to its family. Hopefully, they will all leave the area before the next freezing front.
As far as feeding a swan, crackers are not the greatest because of the salt content. Bread is not the greatest food source as it acts more like a treat, rather than a nutrient, so it should only be provided as a treat. Too much bread can also change the swan’s blood chemistry. Lettuce is actually a great food source because it can help supplement aquatic vegetation that is scarce during winter months.
Now, having said this, the Michigan DNR is trying to kill all of the Mute Swans in the state based upon non-scientific research stating that they are an invasive species. This is by far one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetuated on the taxpayer and is totally against ACTUAL research. We and other researchers have shown that the Mute Swans are a Sentinel species, alerting us to the presence of changes or problems within a habitat. In fact, Mute Swans alert us to the presence of high levels of heavy metals such as copper and lead and microorganisms that can be harmful.
At taxpayer expense, DNR reps from Michigan traveled to Alaska, gathered Trumpeter Swan eggs, incubated the eggs at the Milwaukee Zoo and reintroduced the Trumpeter Swans into Michigan to be used as a Trophy Waterfowl for hunting in the next few years. To conduct this reintroduction, the Michigan DNR and other states are meticulously wiping out the entire species of Mute Swans to have the bigger swan species available for hunting purposes. This after, Barb Avers from the Michigan DNR stated at the International Swan Symposium, held in Maryland, February 2014, that the reintroduction/eradication program will run out of money in the next few years. Think about this: Detroit is bankrupt and yet, the Michigan DNR is spending taxpayer monies ($100,000-125,000 to the U.S. Wildlife Services and $25,000 to the Michigan DNR) to kill Mute Swans and reintroduce the Trumpeter Swans. According to Avers, this does not count the staff and their salaries. In effect, the Michigan DNR has wasted taxpayer monies for a program that cannot be sustained and the number of Mute Swans killed has reached more than 26,000 in the last few years.
So, if you get caught feeding or helping the swans, you may be fined because the DNR would rather see the Mute Swans killed or suffer rather than be treated or rehabilitated, and the swans will eventually be killed if the DNR finds them in your area. So, please be cautious about feeding or caring for the swans so that you or the swans do not incur the inhumanity of the Michigan DNR. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- Swan on ice, what food to give -- Jason -- 23 March 2014
- Re: Swan on ice, what food to give -- The Regal Swan -- 23 March 2014