DO NOT PUT FOOD Near a SWAN’s NEST
We have All Experienced a Chain of Events that Ended Badly.
I am NOT going to be Able to Include EVERY Possible
Combination of the Chains of Natural Food Webs..
I think you will get the Idea from what I am Including..
I Hope you will Think about this to Protect your Swans.
IF ALL this Helps SAVE just ONE Swan..
It will be Worth the Time it Took me to Organize this Page.
We Visited these Swans and their Nest Areas Several Days a Week
over Several Years. It was a Magical Time.
Generally they would Go a Half Mile or so Away…
Picking a Location AWAY from Humans..
Away from the Food Treats and Support.
This is in Early Spring. There is Little Natural Foods.
The Swans KNEW what they Needed..
The Pens are the most Likely to be Killed while Nesting.
Many Pens will “SIT” on their Eggs as they are Being Attacked.
Putting Food Near the Nest is Risky.. It Invited Predators.
Swans are So Messy when they Eat that Some Feed Gets Dropped on the Ground..
Wet Feed Smells like Dog Food..
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus is a Mosquito-borne Alphavirus,
It Cycles between Mosquitoes and Birds in Freshwater Swampy Areas.
Keep ALL Feed/Food at Least 30-40 Feet from the Nest.
Nature Evolved the Mute Swan Pens to Barely Eat During Nesting.
Nature WANTs these Pens to be HUNGRY when the Cygnets Hatch..
SO, the Dam will Take her Cygnets to Feast
on Tiny Water Bugs and Critters and Plant Materials
that she will Stir up as she is Finally EATING again..
The Pen’s Sudden Hunger is a “Symptom” of Imminent Nest Maturity.
Usually One to Two Days before the First Cygnet Hatches…
the Female will Spend Time OFF the Nest Eating EVERYTHING
she can find within a Short Distance of the Nest. …Over 30 Feet Away.Their Cygnets are Wiggling and “Piping.” WE Could Hear them !
Keeping Food AWAY from the Nest Area..
is NOT Going to Completely Prevent all the Hazards to the Nest..
But, Why Invite Trouble. ??
Just a Little Protein Based Feed or Starchy Corn/Wheat
can Result in a Chain Reaction of Unwanted Pests > Predators..
Dropped Feed will Invite a Wide Range of Unwanted Creatures..
…..There are Millions of Animals who EAT Bacteria as Part of their Diet.
…..BACTERIA are Very Good at Absorbing Mineral Nutrients from the Environment.
…..BACTERIA are at the Bottom of most Food Chains on Earth.
…..BACTERIA Attract a Wide Variety of Critters.
MOLDs: Old Food Sours, Smells and Rots..
…..The Smell of MOLD Attracts TERMITEs.
…..FUNGUS GNATs and MOLD MITEs are two Pests closely Associated with MOLDs.
…..COCKROACHEs, CRICKETs, SLUGs, and MILLIPEDs are Attracted to MOLDs.
…..These Critters will Attract SPIDERs..
YEASTs: Yeast is Single-Celled Organism that belongs to the Fungal Ecosystem.
…..There are more than 500 Species and Thousands of varieties of Yeast
…..that can be found in the Soil, Sugary Liquids (in the fruit and flowers)
…..and on the Surface of Plants and Animals.
…..Some YEASTs are Mild to Dangerous Pathogens.
…..Especially Candida albicans, Histoplasma, and Blastomyces.
FUNGUS: Fungus, ( plural Fungi ), any of about 144,000 known Species
…..of Organisms which includes the YEASTs, RUSTs, SMUTs, MILDEWs,
…..Common Diseases: RINGWORM – THRUSH – ASPERGILLOSIS
….. CANDIDIASIS – PNEUMONIA – Breathing them in has WORSE Effects
…..than Eating them – Causing Respiratory Symptoms & Diseases..
…..ASPERGILLOSIS – The Young Swan below had Lungs Filled with this Mold.
….. He did not Survive.******
…..Who Eats FUNGI – DEER, DEER MICE, SQUIRRELs, Small RODENTs,
…..BIRDs, TURTLEs, and many Species of INSECTs.
…..Over Time we got to See a Wide Variety of Mushrooms and Tree Fungus.
PARASITEs: PROTOZOANss, AMOEBAE and Microscopic Crustaceans,
…..They are the Biggest Consumers of Bacteria.
…..NEMATODEs ( Worms ) GASTROPODs ( Snails, Slugs )
…..and Insects like ANTs, GNAT & FLY MAGGOTs, TERMITEs..
PARASITEs in the Ground: WORMs, TAPEWORMs, HOOK WORMs,
…..SLUGs, SNAILs. All these Tiny Creatures have Body Waste that Spread Diseases.
….A ROUND WORM LIFE CYCLE
COCCIDIOSIS: is a Protozoan Parasite Common on Farms.
…..In Poultry, affects their Intestines Reducing a Birds Ability to Digest
…..and Absorb Nutrients. Diarrhea, Weakness to Death.
…..The Disease is Transmitted by the Fecal Waste of Insects and Wild Birds.
AMOEBAE: are Microscopic Free-Living in Fresh Water,
…..They are Commonly found in Pond Water, Ditches, and Lakes.
…..Amoebiasis or Amoebic Dysentery can have Mild or Severe Symptoms:
…..Loss of Weight, Colonic Ulcerations, Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea or Bloody Diarrhea.
…..Anemia may develop due to Prolonged Gastric Bleeding.
SPIDERs: Black Widow Spiders are Native to Pennsylvania
…..are generally found Outdoors. Insects Attract SPIDERs.
*******We See these Spiders ALL the Time. They do have a Job Eating Insects.
INSECTs: There are MANY Insects that have a Larve-Maggot Stage.
GRUBs and MITEs: will Consume some Bacteria.
FLIEs: are One of the largest Insect Orders.
…..It Numbers more than 120,000 Species World Wide.
…..There about 18,000 Species found in North America.
FLIEs are a Common Insect Pest on the Average Farm.
…..Where there is Animal Waste in Fields and Pastures.. and Decaying Compost Piles.
…..Most FLIEs Lives an Average of 15 to 25 Days.
….HORSE FLIEs are Common on Farms..
FLIES – BRITANNICA LIST
At the End of this Topic Page..
There is a Section on the BLOW FLIES.
ADULT FLIEs Feed and Deposit their Larvae-Maggots on Organic Decaying Material.
…..This includes, Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, Animal and Human Feces.
FLIEs.. FLIEs are a REAL CONCERN Near a Nest..
…..I Read an Article Years Ago… A Mute Swan Necropsy Report.
…..A FLY or FLIEs had Lay their Eggs on the Pen’s Cloaca.
…..It is Warm Moist Tissue..
…..The MAGGOTs Went Up into the Pen’s Cloaca and were Feeding on her Vagina..
…..She DIED from the Bleeding and Infections..
…..This was a Horrifying Image.. Imagine her Suffering.
…..Eating MAGGOTs or Maggot-infested Food can cause BACTERIAL Poisoning.
…..Most Foods that have MAGGOTs are NOT Safe to Eat,
…..Especially if the LARVAE-MAGGOTs have been in Contact with Feces.
….HOUSE FLIEs and HORSE FLIEs use Animal and Human Feces as Breeding Sites.
INSECTs will be Attracted to the Cygnets’ Eyes.
…..Various INSECTs will Sting the Wet Cygnets. ( Ants )
….Some will Eat their Eyes.. Any Part that is Moist.
…..When the Cygnets are Still Wet with Egg White
…..and there is a Little Blood in the Shell they are Especially Vulnerable.
BUT, they ALL STING !
******* Any Pond or Lake Environment has a Complex Network of Creatures..
BARN SWALLOWs, EASTERN KINGBIRDs, CHICKADEEs
…..and PURPLE MARTINs are Helpful – their Diet is Mostly INSECTs..
WORMs, TERMITEs, CRICKETs, SLUGs, BEETLEs, etc..
…..will Attract.. MICE, VOLEs, MOLEs, SHREWs, CHIPMUNKs, RATs..
….FROG and TOADs are Beneficial… They Eats LOTs of Insects..
MICE and RATs have been Reported to Eat Hatchlings and/or their Faces.
…..Especially when they First Hatch.. They will Drag the Cygnets Out of the Nest.
MICE and RATs that are Near a Swan Nest will Attract FOXEs, SNAKEs, etc..
…..In the Spring FOXEs – and most Predators are Feeding their Young.
Most Water Environments have WATER SNAKEs..
And SNAPPING TURTLEs.. You will Need to Check Annually for these Harmful Turtles.
SNAKEs will be Attracted to the MICE, VOLEs, MOLEs or RATs..
…..and the SNAKEs will Grab the Tiny Cygnets as they Waddle to the Pond..
…..Cygnets are taken Back and Forth to the Nest for Several Days.
…..The Adult Swans will Check for any Danger before Bringing the Cygnets Back to the Nest.
…..This Sire below Stood and Watched their Nest for Over 30 Minutes.
…..There was Something in the Nest that he was Alert to.
…..Their Cygnet was Kept Out of the Nest.
…..The Swans Never Took their Cygnet to this Nest Again..
…..The Nest was “Closed” the Next Morning.
MICE and RATs have been Reported to Eat the Cygnets
…..as they are Trying to Hatch Out of their Shell.
SMALL CREATUREs: MICE, MOLEs, VOLEs, SHREWs,
….CHIPMUNKs will all Attract SNAKEs to Live Near Water
….AND the LARGER PREDATORs..WITH BIGGER TEETH AND CLAWs..
These FURRY CREATUREs: Will Attract OWLs, CROWs,
….CATs, FOXEs, BOBCATs, COYOTES..
FURRY ANIMALs: Commonly spread TICKs, VIRUSEs and PARASITEs.
….TICKs are Seeking WARM Blooded Animals or Birds to have a Blood Meal..
…..Diseases Transmitted by Ticks.
…..https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html ( You will Need to Copy and Paste. )
FLEAS, TICKs and other PARASITEs: are commonly Spread
…..by FOXEs to Domestic Pets – Cats and Dogs.
SKUNKs: SKUNKs prefer Meat, will Eat Plants and Vegetation.
…..INSECTs, Small ANIMALs, BIRDs, EGGs, POULTRY, WORMs, Berries,
…..GRUBs, BEETLEs, CRICKETs and GRASSHOPPERs – Foods with a Strong Odor.
OPOSSUM – POSSUMs: Eat a Large Number of TICKs..
…..Ranging from Fruits, Grasses, INSECTs, SLUGs, SNAILs, MICE,
…..RATs, MOLEs, FISH and even CARRION.
…..POSSUMs are not totally Immune to Rabies, they Rarely Carry it.
…..As a Marsupial, Possums have a lower Body Temperature than most other Mammals,
…..so their Bodies do not provide a suitable Environment for the Rabies Virus.
RACCOONs: Raccoons Carry and Spread a Number of Dangerous Diseases..
…..PARASITEs: Deadly Ones.. Try NOT to Attract them. They may have Rabies.
…..RACCOON Roundworm – Baylisascaris found in the Pest’s Feces.
…..LEPTOSPIROSIS: A Bacteria spread via Excrement
……which causes Fever, Headache, Chills, Muscle Aches,
……Jaundice, and potentially even Kidney or Liver Failure.
…..GIARDIASIS: Gastrointestinal PARASITE Ailment
……that induces Bloating, Vomiting, Indigestion, and loss of Appetite.
…..SALMONELLOSIS: A BACTERIA when Ingested causes Abdominal Pain and Diarrhea.
…..YOU Do not want RACCOONs Pooping Near the Swan Nests.
….Finding Broken Eggs near the Nest or in the Water Nearby is Disheartening.
…..I Wonder what our Pen is thinking when she Sees a Raccoon Eating her Eggs.
From Raising Chickens
…..What kind of Animal Bites the Heads off Poultry and leaves the Rest.
RACCOONs and WEASELs: will do this, they are after the Brain.
…..The Brain has the Best Nutrients and Fats for getting Winterized.
RACCOONs and WEASELs: are known for Killing Everything they can Catch.
…..They are Responsible for Frenzied Killing in Chicken Coops.
…..They can not eat it all and they can not carry it all away.
…..So they go for the choice Pieces – The Heads.
CATs, FOXEs, CANINEs and BIRDs of Prey: will Generally
…..only take One Bird or Mammal at a Time, Leave to Eat Elsewhere.
…..They will Likely come Back for another Easy Meal.
…..But they Generally do NOT Slaughter and only Eat the Head.
….FOXEs have been known to Carry Rabies.
WEASELs: are Carnivores and will Eat almost All Animals they find.
WEASELs: Eat Small MAMMALs, INSECTs, LIZARDs, FROGs, BIRDs.
HAWKs and OWLs: Sit up in Trees and Watch for Small Fuzzy Things to be LUNCH !
HAWKs and OWLs: Are Feeding their Young in the Spring.
MINK: Their Dens are usually near Water, they are mostly Carnivorous.
…..They Eat CRAYFISH, FISH, Small FROGs, SNAKEs, EARTHWORMs and SNAILs,
…..Small MAMMALs, RABBITs, CHIPMUNKs, MICE, VOLEs and SHREWs..
…..DUCKs, FARM POULTRY – CHICKENs, GEESE, and TURKEYs..
MINK are Agile and Fierce Fighters, Killing Prey
…..with a Hard Bite to the Back of the Skull.
The BOBCATs is the most abundant Wildcat in North America.
…..A Carnivore, they feeds on RODENTs, RABBITs, LIZARDs,
….SNAKEs and some BIRDs And CARRION.
BOBCAT KITTENs are being Feed in Early Spring.
…..The BOBCAT is an incredibly Elusive Predator that Silently Stalks
…..in the Dark before Pouncing with Incredible Force.
…..They are seen as Pest for Farmers Preying on LIVESTOCK and POULTRY.
…..I have had Several Sad Calls about Swans/Cygnets being Killed by BOBCATs.
In 2020, While talking about Common Swan Predators with a Man
who lives in a Rural Area of Pennsylvania. I mentioned the Problem of Raccoons
Stealing Swan Eggs even on Isolated Islands.
He Said, Over the Years Fur Trapping has Declined due to Campaigns
by Animal Rights Groups.
More and More People are Refusing to Use or Wear Fur from Animal Pelts.
The Decreased Market for Animal Pelts has a Side Effect..
Large Animal Predators are an Increasing Problem for Farmers and Folks
living in the Wide Open Spaces..
Our Discussion was mainly about Raccoons.. How their Numbers have increased
in some Areas of Farming.. The Raccoons are Destroying Corn Crops.
They Pull the Developing Ear down and Munch on the Corn..
Knowing that Raccoons Carry many Serious Diseases, some in
their Saliva and some in the Body Waste.. It is Consequence of
Saving these Large Nocturnal Rodents.. Cute as they are to See..
I am not Suggesting that Trapping is OK..
But, I do not want the Predators Harming our Swans..
We Pinion Swans to keep them Safe from the Perils of Flying..
then make them more Vulnerable to being Harmed or Killed
because they can not Flee from Dangerous Animals. >> A Real Moral Dilemma..
Mute Swan Pens Evolved to NOT Eat during Nesting..
KEEP Foods Away from the Nest.. !!!
She will Eat if she want to go to the Feed Container..
Female Swans barely Eat while they are Incubating their Eggs.
Mother Nature wants her to be VERY Hungry when the Cygnets Hatch..
Have some Feed Mixture where she can Find it..
Take the Feed in at SunSet.. Out in the Morning..
Away from the Nest.. She will be OK.. Nature has a Plan..
It is Safest to Keep all Foods at Least 30 Feet or More from the Nest.
Even with the Nesting Platform.. Once there are EGGs..
STOP Placing ANY Food on the Platform.
Adult Swans do not Poop in their Nests.. ( or Seldom )
The Nest Cavity is Kept Clean for the Cygnets.
YOU Do Not want a Swan to Poop near the Nest.
Swan Poop has a Very Distinct Smell and will Attack Predators..
A Good Swan Nest has NO Poop in it..
There are approximately 80 species in North America.
In the Fly Order, Diptera, they are Metallic Blue, Green, or Black in Color
…..and are Noisy in Flight. They are Slightly Larger than Houseflies.
…..They are found with Animal Carcasses, Animal Feces, Garbage Piles,
…..and Piles of Decaying Vegetation > Decaying Compost Piles.
BLOW FLY LARVA are a Problem for all Cavity Nesting Birds.
BLOW FLY Biology varies among the Species and with Environmental Conditions
…..so the following information is General.
BLOW FLIEs Seek Areas that provide a Layer of Loose, Damp Soil and Litter
…..where their Larvae may Thrive and Pupate.
…..Each Female BLOW FLY Deposits Thousands of Eggs over her 2 to 8 Week Life Span.
…..Egg Masses may consist of 1500 to 2,000 Eggs. The Larger Egg Masses are usually
…..the result of Several Females Depositing Eggs on the Same Location.
MAGGOTs Hatch in LESS than 24 Hours when Conditions are Warm and Humid.
MAGGOTs Feed at Night, Moving Down into the Nesting Material during Day Hours.
This Adaptation has Evolved over many Centuries of a Close Association
…..of BLOW FLIEs with Cavity Nesting Birds. The LARVAE-MAGGOTs
…..Avoids being Eaten by the Adult Bird during the Day, and Feeds only after Dark,
…..when the Helpless Nestlings are Easy Prey.
…..Blood is usually Sucked from the Feet or Legs, often from between the Toes.
…..Depending on the Temperature MAGGOTs Complete Development in 4 Days.
…..At the End of this Period, MAGGOTs Typically Burrow in the Nesting Material
…..and Pupate for 5 to 7 Days then the Adult Flies Emerge.
…..A Week Later, Females begin to Deposit Eggs and the Life Cycle is Repeated.
….BLOW FLIEs Generally Develop from Egg to Adult in 10 to 25 days,
…..they can have 4 to 8 Generations a Year.
HELP ! – WHAT DO WE DO WHEN WE SEE FLIEs ! !
ABSORBINE FLYS-X Natural Fly Repellent
…..Ready-to-Use For Multi-Species Live Stock Use.
…..Repels & Controls BITING FLIEs, MOSQUITOEs, GNATs and TICKs.
…..Natural Ingredients: Use ORGANICs – ONLY if Needed..
…..Rosemary Oil, Thyme Oil, Citronella Oil,
…..Cedar Oil, Clove Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Geraniol.
DO NOT SPRAY Directly into the Nest..
…..Spray 4-5 Feet OUT from the Center of the Nest..
…..Spray Away from the Pen.. On Calm Day.
With all the Concerns about Pesticides DIATOMACEOUS EARTH
is Safe & Effective. It is NOT a Poison.
DE is Finely Ground Fossils of Prehistoric Fresh Water Diatoms.
Apply the Dust Lightly in Infested Nest Areas.
DE Kills Common Household and Garden Pests:
WORMs, SNAILs, ROACHEs, ANTs, FLEAs, BEETLEs and MAGGOTs.
DE is a Long Lasting Control -Sprinkles easily into Cracks and Crevices
where Insects Hide and Eradicate them. When Soft-Bodied Insects come in Contact
with this Fine Powder-Dust, DE causes Massive Loss of Body Fluids and Death.
When the Dust is Eaten by Insects, the DE Inhibits Breathing, Digestion and
Reproduction of Insects and their LARVAE-MAGGOTs.
Find this Product in most Lawn and Garden Departments.
TIP: Use a Plastic Mustard (pull up cap) Bottle to Squeeze
a Small Amount of the DE Dust into the Middle of a Nest.
I have Gathered Information from Many Sources.
I have Used Images and Charts from Searches OnLine..
I have Added Credit to All these Files.
I GREATLY Appreciate those who Created them.
I Hope they will be OK with their Use here.
My Goal is to Save the Lives of the Swans we Care for.
Organized APRIL 2022 …. PA Swan Lover Linda M.Sweger