Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Need advice about baby swan that was abandoned in the nest
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 13 June 2014

Hi Sally:

There are a couple of concerns. First, what is the color of the parent’s beaks? If they are orange, then these are Mute Swans. Even though they are wild swans, many states are trying to kill them and this means that if the baby swan grows up and you let it fly, state wildlife officials may try to shoot it out of the sky to stop a feral population. If this is the case and the baby is a Mute Swan, then you need to get it to an avian/bird veterinarian immediately and have it pinioned (partial amputation of one flight wing so that it cannot fly). This is required by many states and should be conducted no later than 3 weeks of age because the cartilage, blood vessels and nerves are more developed and it becomes harder on the swan to have the procedure conducted without anesthesia. So, get him to a veterinarian quickly if this is a Mute Swan. Once he has been pinioned, he will have to be kept as a captive swan and you will need to keep him in an area that he cannot be attacked by predators (wild or domestic). Since he cannot fly, he will not be able to protect himself from predators. You may need to train him to go out onto a small pond in the daytime and then come indoors at night so that coyotes, bobcats, etc. will not attack him at night. Since he does not have parents to teach him about predators, he will need to be protected the rest of his life. He will also need to be protected against severe inclement weather, such as hurricanes, frozen ponds etc., depending where you live. If you cannot safely keep him or cannot find a suitable home such as a wildlife facility or waterfowl farm, then you might want to contact Bob Knox at Knox Swans in Illinois (847) 875-3947 to see if he might be able to help you with this issue.

If the parents have a black bill, then the parents are either Trumpeter or Tundra Swans which are protected species in many states. In this case, you need to contact your local wildlife facility or state wildlife officials and let them know that you have one of these swans. Again, if the parents are Mute Swans, then wildlife officials may kill him just because of his species. So, you will need to be extremely careful when dealing with a Mute Swan. We hope this information is of benefit. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Need advice about baby swan that was abandoned in the nest -- Sally -- 13 June 2014
Re: Need advice about baby swan that was abandoned in the nest -- The Regal Swan -- 13 June 2014