Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Pair bonding and water/out of water
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 27 May 2015

Hi Kate:

Most males do not re-pair once their mate dies. With your swan being this old, it would not be practical to try and find him a mate. Even if he bonded, it is highly unlikely that he will live much longer as most swans only live to approximately 30 years of age with great care. So, you must have been taking really good care of him and providing him with a super safe resourceful habitat. If you get him a mate, they bond and he dies from old age, then you have another swan that you will need to find a mate. We would suggest that you love him as much as you can for his remaining years. Once he has passed, then you can proceed in finding a mate.

On this point, we would suggest that you find two females and not get swans of opposite gender as you will then have cygnets to worry about. In most states, they are trying to kill the Mute Swans, falsely labeling them as invasive and non-native so that the public will buy into killing them because they must be bad. This could not be further from the truth, but US and State Wildlife agencies maintain this misrepresentation so that they can kill the Mute Swans to open habitat to introduce the larger Trumpeter Swans for Trophy Waterfowl hunting purposes.

Because this may be occurring in your state, you may need a breeder's permit to have cygnets. Cygnets will need to be pinioned (a portion of their wing amputated so that they cannot fly) at 1-3 weeks of age. Mute Swans mate and breed once a year. When this new mating/nesting season occurs, the adult swans will chase the juvenile swans from the habitat. Then, you will need to find a new home for them. This process can become a nightmare on a yearly basis. So, we strongly suggest two females or two males. Yes, they will mate and bond just like an opposite gendered pair, but obviously no cygnets will be produced. Females will lay infertile eggs and the males will nest as they are responsible for building the nest, so they will build the nest and sit until they figure out that nothing is going to happen and their testosterone levels return to normal. We would suggest females because they may have more temperate behavior than males which can become territorial during mating/nesting season. The females will also become territorial but less so and will be better in a captive setting if you have a lot of interaction with people in or around their habitat.

Sitting on the bank and in the grass allows the swan to sunbathe and dry out. Swans regardless of age will sit on the banks to rest and preen. This preening allows him to oil his feathers with the oil from the uropygial oil (preen) gland to keep his feathers healthy, keep him water repellent and some scientists believe that there may be ultraviolet attributes of the oil which allows them to recognize other swans. He may even take a nap or rest on the bank and watch the world go by The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Pair bonding and water/out of water -- Kate -- 27 May 2015
Re: Pair bonding and water/out of water -- The Regal Swan -- 27 May 2015