Ask the Swan Specialist

Re: Three month old cygnet shunned by swan family
By:The Regal Swan
Date: 9 August 2015

Hi Pat:

Swan parents may shun their young because of illness or injury. There is something wrong with the cygnet and the parents do not want any disease to spread to the rest of the cygnets. Furthermore, the parents do not want a sick or injured cygnet to lead a predator to the rest of the family. In nature, it is better to lose one or two than the whole family/flock.

Now, if there is nothing wrong, then it could be two other reasons. The cygnet may have acted up and this is the way that the parent's discipline the young. The only other reason would be that the cygnet is not their cygnet, but someone else's. In this case, eventually, the parents will try to chase it from their family and even accidently/intentionally kill it to keep if from their family.

If the parents do not protect the swan at night, then it could die from predation. However, if it has street smarts and can take care of itself, even though it still may hang around the area of the family, then it could survive. You need to observe and see if the family takes the young swan back tomorrow. If not, you may intervene, but if there is something wrong, there is no guarantee that the cygnet will survive even with human intervention.

Also, in some states, if you alert wildlife officials, they may kill the cygnet and even locate the family so that they can kill them. You need to call around to a wildlife rehabilitation/waterfowl center and see if this is the case. If it is, then the cygnet will be killed no matter what. If this is not the case, maybe, a wildlife rehabilitation center will take the cygnet, exam, treat if there is something wrong and raise it so that it can live in a captive setting. Because it has 3 months of swan education from its parents, there is a chance that it could still be released, but it would be better to keep it in a captive setting, protected from predators and inclement weather. The Regal Swan

Messages In This Thread

Three month old cygnet shunned by swan family -- Pat -- 9 August 2015
Re: Three month old cygnet shunned by swan family -- The Regal Swan -- 9 August 2015