Ask the Swan Specialist
Date: 26 May 2015
Mute Swans will mate approximately every day for a week during the breeding season with eggs produced every other day until the full clutch is reduced. Mute Swans mate throughout the year. It is believed that this confirms the bond between the pair and keeps them together for life. This mating for life is typical in swans, but is dependent upon individual attributes and species. For instance, the Whooper Swans have a 6% divorce rate. Usually, in Mute Swans, the pair will stay together unless there is a genetic anamoly such as sterility which will cause the mate to look for another swan. Just as in all wildlife, the pairs are together to continue the species. If one cannot produce, then the other will look for a mate that can help continue the lineage.
Mute Swans only nest/produce eggs once a year. Clutch (egg numbers are typically 1-4 eggs, with the largest clutch ever known 13 in England). However, just like alligators, ducks, geese and other wildlife that produce large number of eggs, many of the eggs will not be viable or will be predated. This is the reason nature has them produce so many eggs because not all will survive.
So, in a clutch of 4 eggs, one egg may be non-fertile and 3 cygnets actually hatch. Out of these 3 cygnets, if they can avoid predation by fish, turtles, bullfrogs, egrets, herons, owls, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, etc., then they all may survive. But, once they overcome predation, they also have natural parasites and infections that can kill them because their immune systems are fragile due to lack of development. Finally, cygnets can get injured or get into areas that they should not and be poisoned by plants or other toxins. Nature is very harsh on the young of all species, with Mute Swans being no different. Out of a nest of 4, it is extremely lucky to get one, much less 4 to survive.
This is one of the reasons that we are fighting several states that have Mute Swan cullings under the guise of conservation. Wildlife officials in these states misrepresent the exponential explosion of swan population growth. It does not happen because nature will not let it occur. There is a condition known as stable equilibrium, in other words carrying capacity of the habitat. Mute Swans and other wildlife have been shown through research to never produce more offspring than the resources in the habitat (i.e., carrying capacity). Conversely, when numbers have decreased due to disease, natural disasters such as drought or floods and even hunting, the flock or herd will try and produce the numbers lost. Which is another reason that culling of any species in the long run is unsustainable as admitted to by the Michigan DNR representatives who have been culling Mute Swans needlessly for decades under the misleading auspices of management. These same officials admit that their population numbers are stable even though they continue to cull the Mute Swans. The secretive reason they are actually culling Mute Swans is to open habitat and introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes. Trumpeter Swan eggs are collected from Alaska, incubated at Milwaukee Zoo and then released into the wild after being hand raised. This not fair to the birds, but eventually they will be hunted and the wildlife officials really do not care that they are not native to certain areas. In fact, Mute Swans have falsely been labeled as non-native when in actuality, paleontologists have discovered fossils dating millions of years related to a Mute Swan homologue. These fossils have been found J n various US states, but wildlife officials ignore this fact and continue misrepresenting facts about the Mute Swan to the public to continue their Trumpeter Swan introduction plan.
Lastly, research has shown that Mute Swans specifically practice birth control so that their numbers do not exponentially increase. The Regal Swan
Messages In This Thread
- Mute swan breeding -- Karen -- 25 May 2015
- Re: Mute swan breeding -- The Regal Swan -- 26 May 2015