Mute Swan visits Manchaug Pond – Wild but NOT Native

The visiting swan is a beauty: large and magestic. Seeing us on the shore while about 100 feet out, it swam immediately to us looking for food. My 9 year old got within 7 feet before it started to hiss. Click on to the title of this post for a link to a Humane Society which details an encounter with “Genghis swan” and their recommendations as to how to handle this large birds. Beware as they will attack and capsize a canoe!

For a little background, the Mass. Department of Fish and Wildlife reports: “The swans you are seeing are mute swans, and like English sparrows and starlings, they are not native to North America, but an introduced species. Originally brought in from Europe and Asia as ornamental waterfowl to grace the ponds of Long Island estates, some escaped to the wild where they became established, spread up and down the coast and are now moving inland. Highly aggressive and territorial, there is evidence that they are displacing native waterfowl and can be destructive to some aquatic habitats, destroying more vegetation than they actually eat.

Unlike native waterfowl, mute swans were not federally protected until Dec. 2001 when a court ruled that mute swans must be granted federal protection under the same Migratory Bird Treaty that protects native swans, the tundra swan, and the trumpeter swan much to the consternation of people who view the mute swan as a destructive interloper.”