Ask the Swan Specialist

Can swans take over another swans eggs or young
Date: 9 October 2014

ok i know this is going to sound a little crazy but i cant figure this out. i dont know if this is normal or if swans steal other swans eggs but here goes. There have been a pair of swans Sheba and Pharaoh at a lake i got to for the last 3 months plus, they built a nest she laid 4 eggs from what i could see and kept building the nest up. Then a few days later the male disappeared from the nesting area and Sheba was left on her own, 1 week later i found him in a different pond in the wetland area where they live. i went back and kept check on Sheba ad then went back 5 days later she was not on the nest, the male was back but the nest was quite flat and about a 1/4 in height less, plus i could see no eggs. But Pharaoh was back and Sheba was with him swimming round the lake, they came up and ate from me even tho Pharaoh did prod Sheba a couple of times and tell her to move along so he could eat, but i gather thats normal.

i haven't been for a week and went last night and Sheba was swimming round the lake crying out, i went today and found her on the side of the lake she came up to me and fed and then i noticed 5 signets and a black swan i got excited thinking that the eggs had got buried and hatched, and then realised it was 2 completely different swans but yet with 5 babies swimming in the same area where Sheba's nest was. i checked the nest couldn't see any major disturbance or broken shell but yet cannot figure where these two stray swans have appeared from and have 5 signets. I know literally every part of the wetlands, i walk it daily in all the areas and have never seen these swans, there plenty of little nooks and crannies and 3 other wetland areas but there was never another pair of swans (unless there very good at hiding and im not that blind yet), we do have heaps of ducks mallard herons cranes and even a pelican. Now they are trying to chase sheba away from her nesting area to. so i know people will probably say well they must of been there some where but i know this park/lake wetlands.

Is it possible for another pair to steal eggs from a nest and move them? chase away one of the swans since only sheba is there again now. it just doesnt make sense when you have one pair who you have watched for months lay eggs, then Pharoah disappeared, came back but the nest was ruined is best way to put it and eggs gone (unless they have been buried under all the reeds and are out of sight) and now there are two new swans with 5 babies.