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Illinois Outdoors

We need to control mute swans

November 18, 2007 at 03:32 PM

Over the last several years you have probably read a word or two about my dislike of the Mute Swan. I might have not have come right out and said that I hate this bird but I am sure you gathered by the tone of my words that I just may not like them.

I know there are many of you who think they are a beautiful bird. I wouldn’t go as far to say they are beautiful, but how about “decorative.” I’m not really certain though that you could can describe a bird as such.

Why then do I have a general hatred for this species? For one, they are not native to the United States. Somebody got the idea that they could bring these natives of Europe over here to add a touch of class to the rich man’s garden ponds. Why a knobby, orange billed, gangly bird could signify class I have no idea. That though was their purpose.

What happened then has led to our demise. The birds adapted well to their new surroundings. They left the gardens and began to breed in city parks, in local ponds and then in big marshes. Their numbers grew and continue to do so today, at am alarming rate.

Mute Swans are very aggressive during the breeding season. They will drive out other waterfowl species trying to nest in their territory. They have even been known to kill other species as they “protect” their territory. They can and will attack humans as well. This non-native species is displacing our native species.

Locally we are seeing the effects in a very big way. This week I pulled into the Bell’s Landing area of Banner Marsh. What I found there was very disturbing as there were Mute Swans everywhere. Just in this section of the marsh I counted 127 swans. Yes, you did read it right . . . . . 127.

I could probably live with a few here and there, I guess five or six couldn’t be too disruptive in a big area—but 127. Something has to be done.

I know the “anti’s” don’t want to read this and I know I will have to suffer the wrath but let’s open a hunting season on the Mute Swan. We should have a spring season when we know the Tundra and Trumpeter swans have left for the year.

Is this too harsh of a removal program? I don’t think so. Something has to be done. I wonder if swan taste like chicken.

I want more native waterfowl around, not because I want to shoot them with a gun, but because I want to see and hear them and to be able to photograph them. So this is not a hunting issue for me.

I would hate to go down to Banner Marsh next spring and not be able to photograph a baby goose or a baby mallard or any other shorebird wildlife because the swans have run them all off.

This is an issue that the state should look at more seriously. An issue that is already out of hand.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was published Nov. 9, 2007 in the Canton Daily Ledger.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Are mute swan protected by the Illinois department of Natural resources, despite the fact that they are exotic?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/06 at 11:24 PM

Yep. Mute swans are protected. Maybe not for long, though. A study of the birds is ongoing that may change that.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 04/08 at 07:05 AM

I am in Rockport Texas (for the winter from Thunder Bay ON).  Today we observered two (one smaller than the other) very noisy huge white swans.  Looking through identification guides, I’m guessing they are mute swans . . . HOWEVER, the beaks were solid orange.  They did have the bump at the base, but it was very solid orange, no black whatsoever!!!  Help.  Could it be a breeding pattern?  Merry Christmas . . . hope you can help smile

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/25 at 04:20 PM

I have one too at our lake with a solid orange beak, VERY aggressive, drove me away when I walked by (I mean he was an inch from me, honking near my face).  I always thought he was cute because he was unique, but not anymore!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 01/05 at 09:50 AM

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