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Beware of the Allure of a ROGUE SWAN

January 12th, 2024 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in BEWARE of Rogue Swans - (Comments Off on Beware of the Allure of a ROGUE SWAN)

A Wayward Swan.. An Unexpected Swan..
The Beautiful, Graceful, Captivating Rogue Swans..


I Wanted to Start this Topic with the Definition of ROGUE..
An Internet Search Yielded some Vague General Descriptions.

ROGUE: Definition in the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary
https://dictionary.cambridge.org › learner-english › rogue.
Not Behaving in the Way that is Expected or Wanted.

In other Sources – Terms and Comments Define Rogue..
>>>>  Very Charming, an Idle Vagrant, Rascal,
>>>>  Scoundrel, Mischievous, Scamp…
But One who is Nevertheless Like-able or Attractive.

The Rogue Cob below is a Beautiful Swan..  A Successful Rescue..

On this Topic Page…. I am Applying the Term Rogue to Swans..

A Rogue Swan is NOT Part of the Normal Swan Pairing.
A Swan who Causes Trouble in a Playful way.
A Swan who Causes Trouble on an Established Swan Pond.

Swans are Social Birds.  They do not Want to be Alone..
If they are Wandering about Alone and happen to Locate
an Interesting Body of Water.. Especially with other Swans,
it is Understandable that they might Stop to Explore the Status of those Swans.

Click on Images to Enlarge to Read some Added Text. 

Our Rescued Mute Cob and a Rogue Feral Pen.. their Story will Follow.

Rogue Feral Mute Swans

IF more Domestic Mute Cygnets are Pinioned
or Clipped to Keep them Grounded,


If we Lived in the United Kingdom.. this would be Common.

ALL their Mute Swans are Living Wild and Free Flying.
Rogue Feral Mute Swans


I will Share Rogue Swan Stories here in Pennsylvania.


I get Several Calls every Year from Folks who are Excited.
They have a “Surprise” Swan on their Pond.
“I Looked at our Pond One Morning and there was a Beautiful Swan..!”


The Swan has been Hanging-Out on their Ponds or Lakes.
It is Alone.
The People are Seeking Information about Feeding or Winter Care..
And they want to Find a Companion/Mate for this Swan.

My First Question: “How Stable is this Swan ?? ”
“How Long has it been on your Pond..?? ”
“How Social with You has this Swan Been ??? ”
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
“Do you have Photos that I might View ?? ”
Photos NEED to Be Focused and Close Enough to see Details.

The First Thing I NEED to Establish:
Is this a Feral Mute Swan.. ???  ( ORANGE Beak)
Feral Mute Swan
A Royal Mute Cygnet Less the One Year Old..
Will have Grey, Brown, Beige Colored Feathers – A Dark Beak.
These Cygnets are Naturally Chased-OFF by their Parents
in Very Late Fall and Early Winter..
Cygnets are Fairly Helpless as they Seek a Safe Place and Food.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan Cygnet

Royal Cygnets have Earthtone Feathers..
Polish Cygnets
are Pale in Coloration.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

OR is it a Wild Tundra Swan/Swans that are in the Process
of Spring-Fall Migration. Are there More then One.. ??
Migrating Swans may Stop on Bodies of Water to Rest.
They may Remain Several Days before Leaving for their Destination.

Migrating Tundra Swans

The Tundra Swans Above have Yellow-Marks on their Beaks.

Most Folks are Unfamiliar with Swans in General..
It is Important to Know WHICH Species their Surprise Swans are..

If this/these Surprise Swans are Trumpeter or Tundra …

Trumpeter Tundra Swan
You can Enjoy and Feed them.. but, you can NOT Restrict them.
These are Federally Protected Swans and must be Allowed to Fly Free.

We Observed this Young Tundra Swan on a Creek Near us..
Likely Blown away from the Migrating Flock.
Rogue Tundra Swan Cygnet
It Appeared after a Nasty February Storm.
It Stayed for Several Days.. We Watched it Fly-Off.


Then there were these TWO ! 
Rogue Feral Swans

A Lady Called wanting to Adopt a “White Swan” for a Lonely Swan
at her Florida Apartment Complex.
There had been Five Swans – All Adopted Together.
Four had Flown Away.. ( Boo ! )  Not Pinioned.

Whooper Swan Cygnets

She did NOT Know the Specie or Sex … I Asked for a Photo..
Yes, this is a “White Swan” > > A Whooper Swan.

Whooper Swan
A Very Expensive White Swan.


An Injured Tundra Swan Walked in a Family’s Long Driveway.
It was Calm, Weak and Thirsty/Hungry.
The Wife Called Wanting to Adopt a Mate/Companion.
She did NOT Know the Specie or Sex..  I Asked for a Photo.
Tundra Swan
I had to Inform these Folks that they could Not Keep it.
As a Federally Protected Tundra Swan,
we Arranged for it to go to a Licensed Rehabilitation Facility.

Tundra Swan


IF the Surprise Mute Swans Come as a Pair.. Sigh !
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

These Mature Mute Swans APPEARED on a Rural Pond
in November and Stayed until March – Five Months.
They Flew-Off.. and would Occasional Return and Leave..
after another Seven Month.. they did not Return.

Rogue Swans

They have Probably Left their Original Home..
Try to Check your Area for “LOST” WayWard Swans..
Someone may be Searching for them. Social Media may Help..
Sites like FaceBook Groups, NextDoor.com.. etc.

When these Swans Left the Family Wanted to get a Pinioned Pair..
Their Experience was Wonderful.. “WE want Swans ! “

BUT, There is Nothing to Prevent these Feral Swans
from Returning Weeks or Months Later.
They Remember where they were being Fed..and May Return.

Rogue Feral Mute Swans


If a Lone Feral Mute Swan is on a Public Waterway,
a River, Lake, Creek, Stream

Rogue Feral Mute Swan
DO NOT Arrange to Release another Swan as a Companion !!
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

This Just Puts Another Swan in Peril..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
If you Develop Trust and have an Opportunity to Catch a Feral Swan..
Arrange for a Private Property Future.Rogue Feral Mute Swan
ONE WING before Releasing at a New Home/Pond.


From our Experience..
It is a Challenge to Keep a Swan in Place
Once a Swan has Learned to Fly.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

The Young Male Swan Above was a Feral Rescue..
Lots of Folks were Involved in his Weeks of Care and the Adoption..
He was Clipped before being Released to his New Home..
BUT, he was Not Clipped after his Annual Moult the Next Summer.
A Rogue Feral Mute Swan Flew in for a Few Days..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

And this Rescued Male Flew Off with the Rogue-Feral Swan..
FULL-Wing Rescued Swans NEED to be Clipped Annually.


Once I Establish People have a Lone Mute Swan..
on their Private Property Water Environment-Pond/Lake..
I Explain what Needs ( should ) to be Done.
Feed >> Gain Trust, Catch the Swan.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Clip One Wing and Send a DNA Sample to Learn the Sex.
You CAN NOT Arrange for a Male to be with a Male !!

## Clipping Captive Swan Pets

Many Lone Female Swans will Act like a Male as a Survival Behavior.
They Display their Wings and Busk and Snort more !
FOR Two Years we Thought this BIG, Bossy, Feral Swan was a Male.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Surprise.. He is a She ! 
IF they Nest and there are EGGs > the Swan is Female.

There is a Long and Winding Story to this Feral Mute Female.
She was Full-Wing.. Could Fly. The Result.. She was Shot.Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Early Spring is Nesting Time..most Mature Females will Lay Eggs..
If you are not seeing any Eggs >> that can be a Clue..
Males will Collect Materials for a Nest.. But NO Eggs..Rogue Mute Swans

Young Male and Female Swans can not be Sexed
by Visual Appearance or Behavior.. You are Just Guessing.

## Determine the Sex of Swans-Cygnets by DNA

THIS is a GOOD IDEA – So YOU Can ID your Swan if it Leaves.

## ID Banding for Swans
If a Hunter sees a Banded Mute Swan, Maybe they will Spare it.
DO NOT CALL your State WildLife Service..
They may Destroy these Feral-Rogue Swans.

So Far, Few Free Flying Rogue Swans have been Caught
or Stayed with these Excited Folks.

Some of these Swans will Come, Eat, Enchant and Go,
Gone for a While, Maybe Returning at Random..
Especially, Folks that have Feral Full-Wing Swans.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

These are “Rogue” Swans.. They are Basically Feral-Wild..
They have NO Loyalty to you or your Pond.

I Hesitate to Arrange for a Companion Swan
for any Rogue Fly-ins..
Full-Wing Swans and Cygnets
that have Learned to Fly are VERY Unpredictable..
Clipping is Helpful to keep them Grounded..
If they are Stable for a Period of Time.. then Maybe Adopt Another..

On Cool, Windy Days Swans have a Natural Desire to FLY
if they are NOT Grounded… Plus they CAN Still Walk Away..
Swans that Fly know the World is a Bigger Place.Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Rogue Swans Frequently just Fly Away leaving the Pond Owners
a Bit Heart Broken.. and a Purchased Pinioned Swan Alone..Feral Rogue Mute Swan

I will Share Antidotes of ROGUE Swans we have Known.
There are Too Many Stories Shared to me by Other Swan Folks.


This WHOLE Story Starts in 2006 – I have Condensed it..
This Summary Account Covers 11 Months..

The Cast of Characters in this “Swan Soap Opera.”
“Handsome Fellow”  –  Little “Hannah”
“Jezebelle” <<<->>> “Sweet Harmony”
Rob  “Meadow”  Linda

Rogue Feral Mute Swan

“Handsome Fellow” was our First Feral Rescue.. July 2007.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

We Learned so much about Swans while Caring for him.
After Nine Months he was Finally on a Real Pond.. But Alone.

We Acquired the Only Female Mute at a Country Auction.
Little “Hannah” was Young, very Scared and Dirty… April 2008..

“Handsome” Adopted this 10 Month Old and Raised her.
Soon “Hannah” became the Pond Princess.. So Cute !

By December 2008 they were Starting to Pair-Bond.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
January of 2009 the Pair were Mating.. They were Good..

We had Wonderful Summer thru Winter Days by their Pond.
Below the Swans were Play Chasing.. Silly Fun.
Pair-Bonding Mute Swans

February 13, 2009 was a Sweet Day.  The Last One.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

On February 14th, 2009 a Mature Female Mute Swan
Circled and then Landed on their Pond.. ( FROM WHERE ?? )
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We had NO Idea what was about to Happen.

“Handsome” was IMMEDIATELY Attracted to the New Swan.
In a Few Hours they were Mating ! We were Bewildered !
and so was our Dear Young “Hannah.”
I gave the Intruder a Name, “Jezebelle” – it Fit.

Early each Morning, One of us had been going Up River
Appx. 6 Miles to Feed a Lone Feral Swan, “Sweet Harmony.”
A Local Man would Feed “him” again after his Work Shift..

“Harmony” had gone Missing. We Checked for Weeks.
We Feared he had been Shot.. PA Hunters had that Right.
The Local Man said, he would call if “Harmony” Returned.

“Jezebelle” Charmed and Claimed “Handsome.” He was Smitten.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
They Shunned “Hannah” to the Farthest Area of the Pond..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We watched her become Fearful if the Two Looked her way.
It was Hard to Watch “Handsome” Chase Little “Hannah” !!
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
She did not Understand “WHY ?”
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

“Jezebelle” started to Chase, determined to Attack “Hannah.”
Then “Handsome” joined the Chase to Drive “Hannah” Away.
We had NO way to Stop this Drama.. “Jezebelle” was in Control.Rogue Feral Mute Swan

At One Point, “Handsome” was Chasing and “Hannah”
turned toward him.. Sat in the Water Facing him..
He Stopped.. He did not Chase her Again that Day..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

For SEVEN Days we Watched almost Helpless…
Finally with Focused Intent “Jezebelle” forced “Hannah”
along a Muddy Bank >> Up into my Arms.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We had NO Choice, we took “Hannah” Home with us..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
Sadly, we had to Rehome “Hannah” with Good Swan Friends.
Their Mute Cob had been Alone for Close to a Year.Rogue Feral Mute Swans
It Took Several Months for Older Cob,”George” to Accept “Hannah.”
Dear “Hannah” was Much Loved at her New Home.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

About Three Weeks Later, “Handsome” and “Jezebelle”
were a Bonded- Pair.. Mating Several Time a Day.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

One Night Rob was Comparing Close-up Photos
he had Taken of “Harmony” to Photo we Snapped of “Jezebelle.”
He showed me.. We were Stunned.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
THIS BIG Bossy Female, “Jezebelle” was the Missing Swan
from 6 Miles Away.. that we Thought was a Male..!!!

Her Behavior was SO DIFFERENT. But, It did Explain,
Why “Jezebelle” Liked Graham Crackers that First Day.
“Harmony” and “Handsome” were Together Again..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
They had been on the River together for Two Years,
“Handsome” had been Rescued 20 Months Earlier..

We had a Protected Nesting Site Ready for the Swans.
“Handsome” Spent Time Arranging the Material..
“Harmony” Totally Ignored the Area.. Weeks Passed..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

March 23, the Swans were Sitting on the Pond Bank when we Left.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

The NEXT Afternoon, the Swans were GONE.. REALLY GONE !!

We Frantically Searched and Located them on the Local Creek.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
They were Exploring.. Seeking their Own Nesting Site.
We had NO Way to Catch them.. Very Helpless..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Their Perfect Nesting Place was Picked.. We Asked Permission
to Visit the Water’s Edge behind that Creek Property.
We Spent most Afternoons Feeding, Watching, Guarding, etc.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Heavy Rain Flooded their Nest/Eggs Twice – All Lost.Rogue Feral Mute Swan

They Recycled and Nested a THIRD Time.. 5 BIG EGGs.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

During the HEAT of July, Three Tiny Cygnets Hatched.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Only One Survived to Leave the Nest.. “Meadow.”
Rogue Feral Mute Swans

The Happy Parents took “Meadow” Out to Explore the
World of the Creek.. We Visited as Much as Possible.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

At 38 Days Old.. a Snapping Turtle Bit “Meadow’s”
Tiny Foot Almost in Half. HE was Bleeding..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Hearing “Handsome” and “Harmony” Screaming
when we Took “Meadow” from them, to Save him,
is a Sound that Haunts my Memory..
We had to Try to Save him.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Success was 11 Months of Vet Visits, Surgeries, Healing.
“Meadow” has a Badly Damaged Semi-Functional Foot.
In Summer 2023, “Meadow” was 14 Years Old.
Mute Swan Cob

On November 15th, 2009, “Harmony” had Lead “Handsome”
Downstream in the Creek to the River.
They were Full-Circle – back where they Started.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
“Handsome” was Happy to be with “Harmony.”
He had taken his Life back as a Free Swan..

Trying to Return them to the Safety of the Private Pond
was not Realistic.. They would Likely Leave again..
Their Return to Life on the River had NO Future..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

One Day Later, “Harmony” aka “Jezebelle” was Shot by a Hunter from Maryland.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

“Handsome” was Spared.. and Alone..
He Searched and Called for “Harmony” for Days..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Early December 2009, “Handsome” Swam back UP
the Creek to a Parking Area of a Small Public Park.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

We make Plans to Capture him and Return him to
the Private Pond… and Hope for the Best..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

We Visited Daily, Spent Time Trying to Get Closer to him..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
Almost.. almost… The Creek Flooded our Last Hope..
January 25th, 2010 was the Last Day we Saw “Handsome.”
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We Searched for Weeks, Months.. Nothing.. No News..

At Home we had “Meadow” with a Huge Surgical
Wound to Care for.. We Focused on his Needs..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We have “Meadow” Thanks to “Sweet Harmony,”
but we Lost “Handsome Fellow” as a Tragic Outcome.

For One Summer these Swans had a Life Together.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

This Rouge Swan… Changed EVERYTHING for Us.
Rogue Mute Swan

When this Rogue Swan Flew in Out of a Grey Sky.


I will Add Two or Three more Stories..

I had to Condense-Summarize these Examples.
A Few Photo Images are NOT the Mentioned Swans.
But they are Good Examples of the General Topic.
Our Adventures with Swans has had LOTs of Twists and Surprises.


SO Many Wanted to Help this Abandoned-Feral-Rogue Swan.

This Summary Covers THREE Frustrating Months.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

For Years, a Lone Swan was seen in a Very Shallow Swampy Pond
as People Drove along a Busy Highway.. Then in Summer 2022,
Plans to Develop this Property were about to begin.

A Local Couple wanted to Rescue and Find a Home for the Swan.
I Got a Call… Could we Help. I Collected Info and Made Calls.
I Contacted a Variety of People WILLING to Help.. It was June.

The Work Site Foreman said, Now that this was a Construction Site,
he could Not Grant Permission for Anyone to come on the Property..
We would have to Contact the Florida Corporate Office.
Several Calls. > NO. They would Not Allow Anyone to Feed or Rescue.

We had a Window of Time, while the Swan was Moulting..
To Rescue the Swans while it was Flightless.. BUT, NO Permission !
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Earth Moving Equipment Fill-in the Swampy Water.. It was July.
The Water was Disappearing Day after Days. The Swan Flew Away.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Landed in a Township Dump-Waste Pond with a High Locked Fence.
Permission Denied.. the Area was TOO Dangerous for Public Access.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

Weeks Later the Swan Flew Out.. TO… the Local Fire House..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

It was Late August.
Seeking Company, the Swan Explored the Fire House..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

The Firemen were Happy to Welcome this Unique Visitor..
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

They Posted to Social Media.. Hundreds of Comments Followed.
I Suspect from seeing the Photos.. “Charley” might be a Pen.

I CALLED and EMAILED.. Trying to Contact ANYONE at the Fire House.
>>>> PLEASE Close the Doors and Someone will Come for the Swan..!!
Rogue Feral Mute Swan
We had a Team of People Ready, to Rescue, Transport, Shelter..
Plans for a Veterinary Check-up.. and then to a Private Property Home.
With the Flood of Social Media Interest.. I was Ignored. UNTIL….

I Got a Call from the Fire Chief.. I Explained we wanted to Rescue..
He Informed me.. that after about 10 Days.. the Swan Flew Away.
It was Now Late September,
TWO Days.. before the Beginning of Fall Hunting Season.
The Swan they called “Charley” was Never Seen Again..

 I want to Acknowledge, that there are Lots of Caring People
who are Willing to Help.. But, the Odds are Against us.


This Rogue Swan Story will be Short.

A young Pair of Seven Month Old Mute Cygnets
were Settled on their Country Pond.  ALL Good.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

I Got a Frantic Call from the Wife…. There was a Larger Swan
on their Pond CHASING the Two Youngsters.

The Husband was Outside, Yelling and Banging a Metal Pan,
trying to Scare the Rogue Swan Away..  Not much Luck.
But, he was Definitely Scaring their Young Pair.
Rogue Feral Mute Swan

The Rogue Swan would Fly-off and Returned for Several Days.
Finally Left and did not Return.
Another Day of Harassing the Young Cygnets
there would have been a Fatal End to the Rogue.


One More – A Terrible Easter Morning Memory.

In Early February a Pair of Unrelated 9 Month Old Mute Cygnets
were Adopted.. to a Family with a Lovely Four Acre Rural Lake.
The Young Female was VERY Shy.. she Kept her Distance for Weeks.

Rogue Feral Mute Swans

As the Weather Warmed so did her Trust of her New Family.
Early in April, I got a Call.. There were TWO LARGE Swans
Flying about their Pond and Chasing their Young Pair.

Through Social Media, they Located the Original Family.
WHO Said, “That’s Ok, you can Keep them.”

Being New to Swan Care, the Cygnet’s Family has NO Idea
what their Right were or what to do..
It is the Responsibility of the Original Family to Remove
these Two Full-Wing Wayward Swans and Rehome them..

Several People were Hired to Catch the Wayward Swans..
It was Hopeless, they just Flew about Avoiding their Attempts.

To the Horror of the Lake Family… Early Easter Morning..

Rogue Feral Mute Swans
A Hunter stood by the Lake and Shot both Rogue Swans.
One was Killed Immediately, the other was Fatally Wounded.
It was Left to Bleed to Death while a Four Year Old Child
was Aware and Afraid for his Pet Swans.

The Family had to Deal with the Bloody Body once it Floated to Shore.


Are there Other Rogue Swan Stories..??  Yes, but this is Enough.


Compiled & Organized by  (c) Linda M.Sweger       February 2024

To the Memory of  “Handsome Fellow.”

Rogue Feral Mute Swan


September 28th, 2023 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in FISHING is RISKY BUSINESS - (Comments Off on FISHING and SWANs.. NOT a GOOD MIX)

I Understand that Fishing is an Activity Enjoyed by Many.

Fishing and Swans

I am not Going to Bash or Complain about the Sport of Fishing..

It seems to be a Popular Way to Spend Time Outside.
Fishing and Swans

To Enlarge Right Click Image – Open in a New Tab.

FISHING: If you Allow Anyone to Fish in Your Pond or Lake..

Fishing and Swans
Ask them to be EXTREMELY Careful
with Fishing Line,
Sinkers and Hooks..
Fishing and Swans

It is Safest for your Captive Pet Swans if NO Fishing is Allowed..

Fishing and Swans

I am Always Happy to See Ponds Designated “NO FISHING.”

Fishing and Swans

A BRIGHT Red Bobber… Someone was Fishing on a NO Fishing Pond.

Fishing and Swans

The Pond or Lake Your Swans Live on.. is their Home.

Fishing and Swans

What is Difficult to Accept is the Careless Disregard for the Environment
by Some – Not All – People who Fish..

Fishing and Swans

Fishing and Swans

Fishermen Say they Love the OutDoors.. > > > Why do they Trash It. ? ?

Fishing and Swans

Mute Swans get Blamed for All Kind of Negative Impacts
on the WaterWays they Live on.. But, this is Not Swan Waste..
Fishing and Swans******
Fishing and Swans
Fishing and Swans
THIS is People TRASH ! !

Fishing and Swans

I Want to Share with Folks interested in Having Swans
what Can Happen if Fishing Hooks, Lines and Sinkers
are Left in the Water where your Captive Pet Swans
and other Water Birds Live.

Fishing and Swans

Your Domestic Ducks and Geese will Suffer Injuries that Mangle them.
Many of these Fishing Related Tangles and Puncture Wounds
will Require a Visit to a Veterinarian..
Wounds can be Time Consuming to Treat.  Many are Fatal….

Fishing and Swans

This Tiny Cygnet was Barely OUT of the Nest and it is HOOKED !

Fishing and Swans

This Female Mallard became Entangled in a SIX-Pronged Barbed Hook.
She was First Hooked in the Webbing of her Foot.
Trying to Free herself with her Beak, her Tongue became Impaled.
She was Lucky, Found, Helped and Released.

Fishing and Swans

Discarded Fishing Line Around the Leg of this Goose was Cutting
in so Deeply, Saving the Leg was Questionable.
Fishing and Swans

One Hook can Destroy the Future of an Entire Family.

Fishing and Swans

A FISHING Hook is Literally a TIME BOMB
waiting to Kill any Bird or Animal that Swallows One.

Use GREAT CARE when Capturing a Swan/Cygnet that may have
ingested a Fishing Hook.
Do your BEST NOT to handle the Neck. Keep Stress as LOW as Possible.

VERY GENTLY – Touch the Neck ALL Around to feel
for any Lump that might be the Location of a Hook !!

Below an X-RAY of a Duck that Swallowed a Fishing Hook.
This would Required Risky Surgery to Remove. Outcome Unknown.
Fishing and Swans

If an Unfortunate Swan/Cygnet Swallows a Fishing Hook
OR any Bird or Waterfowl…
The SOONER it is Removed the Better the Chance
that no Long Term Harm or Death will occur.
Fishing and Swans

One of the Young Cygnets above Swallowed a Length of Fishing Line..
The Cygnet’s Owner CUT the Line at his Beak and Released him.
NO Plan to Find Out if there was a Hook or to Help him..
“He is a Wild Creature. God will take Care of him..”      ( B… S… ! )

My Heart SANK, when I learned they turned the Cygnet out to their Pond.

– there MIGHT be a HOOK…

This will Aid finding the Hook.. Leave Several SECURED Inches Visible.

The Bird or Animal will BEST be helped by a Veterinarian.

Fishing and Swans

We Arranged with the County Cruelty Officer for this Cygnet
to be Removed from the Farm Pond.
He was Taken to a Veterinarian for Help.
His Weight was 40 % below what he should have Weighed.

There is NO WAY:  > > > WITHOUT an X-RAY
No way to know how Large the Hook is..
No way to know how the Hook is Oriented..
No way to know how Far Down the Hook has Gone..
NO WAY to know how many Barbs the Hook has..

If a Painful Puncture and Bleeding does Not Kill the Animal/Bird,
Fishing Hooks will Dissolve/Rust over Time..
Depending on the Size, this can take Weeks to Months..
Dissolving Metals will S-L-O-W-L-Y be Absorbed..
Heavy Metal Poisoning.

As the Swan/Cygnet moves about the Hook Barbs may change its
Position and Location.  Swans Twist their Necks to Drink, Eat and
Preen.. It will likely cause PAIN as it Stabs into Tender Tissues.

Fishing and Swans

Throat Tissues may become Swollen, Sore and Ulcerate.
High incidents of Infection.. Bacteria – Fungus.. Necrosis.

A Swallowed Fishing Hook may cause Chronic to Severe Bleeding..
Especially, if it Punctures a Carotid Artery or Jugular Vein.
Massive Bleeding, Loss of Blood to their Brain.
Obstructive Blood Clots.  Many Fatal Potentials.

Plant Material, which Swans Try to Eat, may be Caught and Choke
the Cygnet/Swan. Prevent Eating – High Risk of Starving.

Hook Barbs may Migrate to the Trachea – cause Airway Obstruction,
Bleeding into their Lungs. Painful Fatal Outcome.

Hook Barbs may Migrate to their Neck Vertebrae.
Damage Nerves-Impair Function. Imagine the PAIN !!

By the Time the Swan/Cygnet is in Distress from a FISHING HOOK,
it will be more Difficult to Save them. The Longer the FISHING HOOK
is in the Throat the more Treatment will likely be Needed.
Poor Prognosis.
Fishing and Swans

This Young Cygnet was Lucky. He was Rescued and taken for Help.
He did not have a Fishing Hook in his Esophagus..
BUT, he did have a Wad of Balled-up Fishing Line in his Gizzard.
The Line was Abrading the Lining of his Gizzard, causing Bleeding.
The Fishing Line was Removed, he was Treated with Antibiotics,
Time to Recover and Gain Weight.. Adopted to a New Home.

Fishing and Swans

If you SEE Fishing Line Hanging from a Swan’s Mouth…
DO NOT CUT the Line. – Leave SEVERAL Inches Visible.
Find a Way to KEEP it from being SWALLOWED Further.
TIE the Fishing Line Around a Kids SOCK.. or a Small Wash Cloth.
Something Soft that the Swan/Cygnet can NOT Swallow.
Your VET will have a BETTER Chance of Removing the HOOK.

Fishing and Swans

The Young Swan Cygnet Below was Rescued – Not Saved.. Died.

Fishing and Swans

Carelessly Discarded Fishing Line, Hooks and Lead Sinkers
have been Responsible for “Way Too Many” Waterfowl Deaths..

Fishing and Swans

Painful Tissue Injuries might be Treated after Days of Bleeding
when Infections have started.. All Blood Loss is an Emergency !

What you are Seeing is a Result of FISHING..
and NOT being Responsible for Fishing Line.. and HOOKs !

Fishing and Swans

The Pain and Stress the Swans Endure May Contribute to a Poor Outcome..

At a Pond that was to be Designated “No Fishing” – Public Fishing Continued.

Fishing and Swans

The Young Swans on this Pond were Hooked and Injured Several Times.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing and Swans
We Arranged for a Rescue to Occur on a Wednesday..
A Veterinarian Appointment was Made for that Evening.

Fishing and Swans

The Owner Arranged for Someone to Shoot the Juvenile Swan on Tuesday.
They were Tired of all the Expensive Veterinary Bills..
The Young Swan was a Victim Twice.. through NO Fault of his. So Sad.

They did Allow the Rescuers to Collect his Brother.
We found him a New Home.  In 2023, he was a Sire to Three Cygnets.

Fishing and Swans
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The Line was Caught on Rocks.. Luckily the Swan Pulled Free..
We Could Not get Hold of her.. The Hook Eventually Rusted Off.

Fishing and Swans

A Lost Bobber.. Floating out in the River..
Fishing and Swans


The Saga of a Rescued Swan.. Who Knows how Long she was Hooked.

Fishing and Swans

A Family that had been Visiting and Feeding her… Took her Home.

Fishing and Swans
It Took Repeated Tries to Capture this Feral Mute Swan.

Fishing and Swans
A Trip to their Veterinarian.. Hook was Removed and Treated.

Fishing and Swans
Weeks of Recovery Time.. the Swan Continued to Struggle.

Fishing and Swans
She was Using her Wings to Assist her Walking.

Fishing and Swans
This Swan’s Leg was Not Ok.. She Struggled to Walk.. Victim of a Hook.

Fishing and Swans

Now she has a Home.. Beautiful and Graceful in the Water.


Lead Poisoning is a BIG Problem for Wild and Domestic Waterfowl.

Fishing and Swans

Swallowed Lead will Slowly Cause Toxic Heavy Metal Poisoning.
Difficult and Time Consuming to Treat.

Fishing and Swans

Over the Years, we have Talked with Pond Families and Helped Rescue
Way TOO Many Swans and Cygnets Entangled-Snagged
by Fishing Hooks, Lines.. So Far No Sinkers or Shot Gun Lead.

Well, that has Changed.. Late July 2023.. I Received a Call..
A Young Cygnet was being taken ASAP to an Animal Medical Hospital..
It was Found early in the Day.. Very Weak..
An XRay at a Local Vet’s Office showed a Fishing Split.
It had to be Resuscitated on Arriving at the Hospital..
Sorta Stable for 36 Hours..
Then Seizures Ended this Tiny Life.. Before Treatment could be Started.

Fishing and Swans
The Cygnet above with the Weak Neck Muscles..
Very Suspicious of Lead Poisoning..


This OnLine Image became Real for One of Our Swan Friends.

Fishing and Swans

The Female is Young, the Cob is Older.
They were Getting to Know Each Other.

Fishing and Swans
A Fishing Bobber Floating into their Pond from the Source Stream.
The Young Female Swallowed it ?? Hook and Line. ???
It was NOT going to Pull OUT.. WAS there a HOOK ???
The Fishing Line would CUT if Tugged to Hard.

An XRay did not Show a HOOK..
But the Fishing Line was Very Tight in the Gizzard Muscle.
First Vet Said, Nothing Could be Done… but, Euthanize her.

I Recommended taking this Young Female to another Vet…
that we Know..  Dr. L. gave her a Little Sedation..
That Relaxed the Gizzard Muscles and the Fishing Line
was Gently Pulled UP and OUT !!!
Fishing and Swans

It was a 90 Minute Drive Home.. By then she was Totally Awake..
And Released Back to her Adoring Mate..  LUCKY & Happy Ending.

Fishing and Swans

A Distressed Swan Rescued after having Tongue Impaled
by Discarded Fishing Hook.

Fishing and Swans

Some Hooks will Come OUT Easily..
Some Hooks Embed Deeply.. Cause Bleeding and Pain.

Fishing and Swans

These are the Painful Punctures Suffered by a Swan in the U.K.
after Swallowing Fishing Line attached to TWO Hooks.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing Line Tangles Wings, Legs, Necks..
Tissue Damage and Permanent Injuries are Common.

Fishing and Swans

One of their Four Month Old Cygnets was Tangled,
Struggling Likely Broke her Wing.
She Died during the Night, before she could get to the Vet’s Office.
Fishing and Swans

There are many Sad Stories I could share..
“PiP” is Another One. He was between 4–5 Months when Rescued.
A Caring Team of People spent Months Helping him Recover.
Thanks to All.
Fishing and Swans

He was Lucky to Survive his Encounter with Fishing Line.
Any Waterfowl, Birds… and other Animals can become Tangled
in Fishing Line left in their Living Environment..
Fishing Line is Strong and does not breakdown..

Fishing and Swans

He was Found with his Foot Tangled with Fishing Line.
His Struggling to Free himself caused Mutilation
of his Left Foot’s Web Tissues.

Fishing and Swans

When Rescued, the Damaged Tissues were Surgically Removed.
All the Network of Blood Vessels between his Toe Digits were Damaged.

Fishing and Swans

It was Over a Year before he was Ready for Adoption to a New Home.

Fishing and Swans

The Primary use of Webbed Feet is for Paddling through Water.
Webbed Feet have more Surface Area to Push Water Backwards
and thus Propelling the Waterfowl Forward.

Fishing and Swans

The Large Network of Blood Vessels in the Webbing is Important
to Aid Waterfowl Regulate their Body Temperature.

This Nasty Damage will Affect his Life.. He will Need to Adapt.
His Foot will Sink into Soft Muddy Dirt, be more Easily Cut.


Entangled Waterfowl Can NOT Fly, Swim, Forage for Food
or Protect Themselves from Predators.
Tightening Constriction around the Body can cause Suffocation.

If Fishing Line gets Wrapped and Tight enough it can AMPUTATE
Legs, Wings, Strangle their Neck Affecting Breathing, etc.
While causing Gangrene as a Body Part Slowly Dies.
The Poor Helpless, Tangled Swan can easily Starve if it does not get help..


Another Young Swan’s Life has been Changed.. Forever.

Fishing and Swans

Once Tangled in Fishing Line, the Line Tightens around her Leg
to the Point it Cut through the Skin and into the Bone
as she Struggled to Free herself.

Fishing and Swans
Infections incur, Circulation is Cut Off Resulting in Amputation.

Fishing and Swans

A Little Local was Given to Finish the Amputation..
Fishing and Swans

This is Where the Leg was Damaged – No Hope to Repair.

Fishing and Swans

She will Not be Able to Walk.. Swans are Too Large to Hop on One Leg.

Fishing and Swans

It is Hard to think about this Live Bird Suffering Endless Hours
for over 2–3 Weeks – Alone in Pain and Scared.
I do not have Words..

A Series of Dedicated People Tended Tirelessly to Help this Young Swan Recover.

An Experienced Rehab Angel in Florida.. Welcomed this Young Female.
Close to Round the Clock Care.. Weeks of Therapy.

Fishing and Swans

In the End, the Swan kept Trying to Stand to Preen..
Then Plop-down on her Abdomen.
The Abdomen Skin was Bruised Over and Over..
Damaged beyond Healing.

If this Swan would have Stayed in the Water,
she might have had a Chance.
Her Loss was Heart Wrenching for Everyone
who Tried so Hard to Save her.


Countless Birds Suffer an Agonizing Death.

Fishing and Swans

Birds/Swans often Pick-up Fishing Line to put in their Nest.
This may have a Fatal Outcome for the Cygnets.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing and Swans
The Trumpeter Swan Parents Could Do Nothing to Help their Cygnet.
Do a Simple Internet Search for ** Images Swan Fishing **
WaterFowl Do NOT have TEETH..

Fishing and Swans

They Ingest their Food in Bites that can be Swallowed.
Swans are Vegetarians and Eat a Diet with Lots of Tough Fiber.

Fishing and Swans

These Foods Need to be Ground into Smaller Bits that will
Pass into their Digestive System.

Most Waterfowl Swallow Small Bits of Gravel that Act as “Teeth”
in their Gizzard, Breaking Down the Tough Plant Fibers
thus Aiding Digestion.

Fishing and Swans

Ingested Fishing Line can cause Intestinal Blockage and Bleeding.
Balled-up Wads of Line will Churn in the Gizzard Muscle..
Pain and Bleeding..Slow Starvation..

Fishing and Swans

Not Being a Person who Goes Fishing..
I am Using Wikipedia for the Following Information..


A Fishing Sinker or Knoch is a Weight used in Conjunction with a
Fishing Lure or Hook to increase its Rate of Sink, Anchoring Ability,
and/or Casting Distance.

Fishing and Swans

A Lead Fishing Sinker is a Weight used to Sink a Lure
or Bait to the Bottom of the Waterway.

Fishing and Swans

Sinkers are Formed into many Shapes for Diverse Fishing Applications.
Depending on the Metals.. Swallowed Sinkers will Poison Waterfowl.

Fishing and Swans

Most Fishing Sinkers are made of Solid Lead.
Lead is Inexpensive to Produce and Mold into a Large Variety
of Shapes for Specific Fishing Applications.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing Sinkers may be as Small as 1 Gram for Applications
in Shallow Water, and even Smaller for Fly Fishing Applications,
or as Large as Several Pounds or Considerably more for Deep Sea Fishing.

Fishing and Swans

There are many Environmental Concerns Surrounding the use
of Lead and other Materials in Fishing Sinkers.
Lead in Fishing Sinkers causes Lead Poisoning in WildLife.

Anglers should be Careful when using Lead Sinkers
and if at all Possible Never Leave Lead Sinkers
in the Environment they are Enjoying.

Fishing and Swans

Any Lead Fishing Items Swallowed by Waterfowl will
Slowly Poison the Birds.. There are MANY Articles onLine..

Fishing and Swans

Treating and Saving a Swan Suffering from Lead Poisoning
is a Long and Difficult Process.. if Successful.

When I see Fishing on a Pond or Lake where Swans are Living..
I feel myself Tense – Cringe .. Immediate Worry..
> > > Too Many Sad Stories.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing and Swans
A Clean, Litter Free Environment Benefits All.


Fishing and Swans

WildLife would be Happy to See these Signs..

Fishing and Swans

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An OnLine Search:  Fishing Hooks Swans.. Lots of Sad Photos.
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You Get the Idea..  Swans and Fishing do NOT Mix Well !

Fishing and Swans

You will have FEWER Injured Swans, Ducks, Geese !

Fishing and Swans

Thoughts, Information and Memories Collected – September 2023
An Unfortunate Work in Progress. (C) Linda M.Sweger

We can Share the Great OutDoors.
Fishing and Swans

Fishing, Boating, Enjoying Wildlife Safely.
Did you know you can Recycle your Used Fishing Line?

Fishing and Swans

The Fishing Line Recycling Unit above was Installed by an Eagle Scout
as a Community Service Project for a Large Lake Community.

We hope more Fishing Folks will Use this Type of Recycling.

Do a Search for: Fishing Line Recycling Program.

Fishing Line will be Sent Back to be Recycled into Fish Habitats.

There are Products to Help Fisher Folks Recover Line.. and Hooks.

Fishing and Swans

I Learned that there are Effort to Provide Ways to ReClaim
and Dispose of Hooks, Lines and Fishing Stuff…

Please Help Reduce the Suffering.

Fishing and Swans

Fishing and Swans
Fishing and Swans
It is Just a Matter of Time.


August 23rd, 2023 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in SWAN CYGNETs-FRAGILE LEGS - (Comments Off on SWAN CYGNETs have FRAGILE LEGS.)

It is Important with Young Swan Cygnets to be Careful Handling them.

IF Possible !  > > NO Chasing ! No Twisting when you Pick them UP.
 > > > Set Cygnets Down on the Ground Gently.

Look that those CUTE LITTLE LEGs..

As I have been Gathering Examples..
It has been Disheartening how many Swans/Cygnets
We know that have had their Legs Injured Permanently.
Many will not be Mentioned here.

It is Important with Young Cygnets to be Careful Handling them.
IF Possible. > > NO Chasing ! No Twisting when you Pick them UP.
Set Cygnets Down on the Ground Gently.

Within Hours of Hatching Swan Cygnet are Ready to Leave their Nest.

Within 24-36 Hours Swan Cygnets are
READY to Leave the Nest and will Learn to EAT !

I Had to Laugh Seeing the Tiny Cygnet Tasting his Sire’s Feathers. 

For THREE Months Swan CYGNETs are Eating Machines !
They EAT and Poop !   Lots of Poop !!


Cygnets have VERY Fragile Legs when Young..
A Poor Diet the first 5-6 Months.. does not Help..

Calcium is the Main Mineral they need to Develop Strong Bones.
Tiny Water Insects are Rich in Calcium and Proteins..

“Crunchy Munchies.”

They will Soon be Floating on the Water that is Only
a Very Short Waddle from their Nest to Start Life as Very Young Swans..

Imprinted they Follow Close to the Tail Feathers of their Parents..
Their Little Legs will be Very Active.
Swan Cygnets will Grow VERY FAST..
When Cygnets Hatch..
Their Tiny Bodies are Much like a Balloon before you Inflate with Air..
( One Way to Think of it. )

In 4 to 5 Months they will be 12-20 Pounds..
Depending on Many Factors..

Their Bones can not be Firm, they must be able to Stretch
into the Proper Shapes. Their Bones are just Thin Scaffolding..

First the Cute Little Webbed Feet >>>GROW..!!
Exaggerate for Fast Paddling.
They Must Keep Up with their Parents..

Then their Necks Shoot UP
… Within 5 Months they are Close to the Size of their Parents.. !!

Healthy Cygnets will be “Feathered OUT..” by 5 Months.

Swans Evolved to Float and Fly.. Not to Stand or Walk..
When we Pinion them.. we Change this..
Pinioned Swans are Safer as Domestic Pets.

For Cygnets that are NOT Pinioned.. ( Please Pinion your Cygnets )
4 to 6 Months is their Instinctive TIME to Learn to Fly
and Leg Injuries are Common.
( The Cygnet Below is Pinioned.)
Their First Primary Wing Feathers are Larger then they will be
the Rest of their Lives..
Larger Feathers for more Control.. Softer Landings..
These are Nature’s “Training Wheel.”

At Six Months their Bones are Close to the Adult Size..
NOW it is Time for Bone Development Changes
and for Minerals to Start to Strengthen the Bone Scaffolding.
They will SLOWLY become Firm – more Solid/Dense..
This will take Another Year + Plus..

BUT, Their Bones are Still Developing.. Their Legs are Still Fragile !
HANDLE Cygnets Gently. Very Little Pressure on their Legs.
They Bend Easily.. Handle like a Fine Stemware Wine Glass..

The Cygnet Below: Notice her Leg Bone ( Blue Cable Tie) is Bent.

Cygnets at 4-6 Months are Old Enough to be Cared for as Adults..
>>>Except for being VERY CAREFUL with their Legs,
which are Still Fragile and Injure Easily..

DO NOT Chase them or Put ANY Pressure on their Legs,
No Twisting their Legs as they are Growing..
Take Care when Traveling with Young Swans/Any Swans
that you DO NOT take Turns TOO Fast or STOP Suddenly
and Knock the Swans OFF their Feet.

If there is Room in their Travel Container Swans may Stand
to Stretch their Leg while your Vehicle is Moving.

Any “Pressure Bends” CAN NOT be Corrected.
The Internal Struts in their Hollow Bones are Damaged.

The First 6-9 Month the Legs of Cygnets are Growing Fast..
Stretching into their Adult Shape and Size the Structures are Thin..

Cygnet Legs Start to Firm from ca. 8 to 24 Months..
Swan Bones are NOT as Solid as Mammal Bones.
Bird Bones Remain Light Weight.. so they can Fly..

If Hand Raised Cygnets are Kept in a Shelter with Very Little SunShine,
Depending on their Diet, they may have an Inbalance
of Bone Healthy Vitamins, Minerals and Exercise.


Bone Density Reflects Mineral Content for Bone Firmness.


Some Years Mute Cygnets Hatch VERY Early in the Spring.
and they are Sheltered to Protect them from the Cold…
and/or the Predators that Snatch these Tiny Fuzz Balls..

The Swan Family below Started with 6 Cygnets..
A Red-tailed Hawk Snatched 3 Cygnets within 10 Days.

Black Australian Cygnets often Hatch in COLD Weather (March)
and are Often Sheltered the First Several Weeks
when they Legs are Growing SO FAST.
Not Sure Most will have even a Kidde Pools.. or SunLight


Being in the Water to Work their Legs is GOOD.
Allow them to SWIM as Much as Possible. ( being Safe..)
Be Sure they can get IN and OUT of the Water Easily…

Below we Used a Kidde Pool on a Slope with the Side Cut to the Ground.
This Cygnet’s Legs were Bent when an Adult Male Sat on her..
Her Legs were Bent-Very Sore, she Scooted on her Belly.

Cracked Corn is NOT a Complete Diet.. !!!!
The General Cygnet Feeding Tips are on this Topic Page..

Feeding Swan Cygnets

We had Several, NOT a Large Sample of Cygnets,
that had some Leg Issues due their Poor Diet..
Correcting their Poor Diet most Cygnets did Improved..
“Abigail” is an Example..

The Commercial Poultry Feeds will have Vitamins and Calcium..etc.
Swan are Birds – Poultry Feed is for Birds..

They Need to Keep their Body Weight in Balance
with their Leg Growth.. This can be Tricky..

As they Rapidly Gain Weight, their Legs are often under Stress..
Stress may Cause the Leg Bones to Twist.
The Bones are Stretching and Growing RAPIDLY.. They are Thin..
At Times the Cygnets Walk as if their Legs are Sore..

Some Young Cygnets may have Shaky Legs when Walking or Standing..
They Avoiding being Out of the Water.. Sitting more then Walking..

Young “Philo’s” Owner was Worried about his Shaky Legs.
As he Grew his Shaking Legs did Stop.

I Presume this is Similar to Kids with “Growing Pains.”
I have Observed this when we Hand Raised Cygnets.

So being in Water Helps keep their Weight OFF their Legs.
And Works ALL their Leg Muscles.

SUNLIGHT is Important for Vitamin D.. ( Shade on HOT Days. )
Hopefully as they Grow, their Legs will Strengthen
in the Proper Shapes. Nature is Moulding them.

Personally, I would Add some Crushed Boiled Egg Shells.
A TSP to a Gallon of Feed Mixture….( OR Fine Oyster Shell )

The Cygnets with Injured Legs were Never Quite Right..
In the Mute Swan Community, MANY Swans Limp..

The Precious Young Female below was Lucky.
She was Attacked by a Bob Cat and Escaped. One Leg was Twisted.
It took Close to a Year for her to Walk well.  She Limps.
In her Pond she is “Princess Hannah.”

Swans that Limp or have Some Leg /Foot Issues is VERY Common.
In the Water they do Fine.. On Land.. Far from their Pond/Water..
they are more Vulnerable.. Especially when Pinioned..
Encourage your Swans to Stay Close to their Water.


I have Learned of Too Many Swans who had Broken Legs..
They are Seldom OK..
Most of the Cygnets or Swans with Displaced Leg Fractures..
did not Survive very Long.. These Fractures did not Heal..
A Poor Blood Supply and Damaged Nerves the Legs will not Function.

These Two Black Swan Cygnets had Poor Union of their Fractures..

One had been Dropped Over a Fence, the Impact Broke his Leg..

The Other ( Poor Diet ) his Leg Broke when he was Hit
with a Chunk of Lettuce.. OUCH !

This Mature Cob was Pushed Sideways.. It Broke his One Leg.
It was Pinned and he was Confined for Weeks.. It did not Heal..SWAN CYGNETs-FRAGILE LEGS

Their Legs Died..and so did they.


The Xray Attached is of a Young Cygnet..
who was Fluttering Down a Hill and Landed in Shallow Water.
His Foot Hit a Flat Rock and Cracked his Leg Bone..


He was a Lucky One.. his Leg Healed.. Xrayed Three Times.
His Adoption was Delayed 6-7 Weeks.

Be Gentle with Swan Cygnet Legs..


Some Broken Wings … Can be Splinted
or if Needed be Removed..
Captive Waterfowl will Adapt to a Damaged Wing being Removed.


CHECK Your Pond Area for Tangle Hazards !


This was a Fun Topic Page to Organize..

Swan Cygnets Grow SO FAST Day 1 to 12 Months..


I am Only going to Provide Basic Information about Avian Bones..

Watching with Aww Birds Flying is Something many of us have Done.
Soaring High in the Sky.. Zipping into Trees.. Landing on Lawns.
OR Watching Waterfowl Glide onto a Water Surface.

A Bird’s Skeleton must be Very Strong to Meet the Demands of Flight.
And Birds Need to be as Light as Possible in Order to Fly.
The Bones of Birds are Lighter in Weight than those of Mammals.


What is the Main Difference between Bird Bones and Mammal Bones?

Bird Bones are Hollow or Semi-Hollow and have Large Air Chambers.


Mammal Bones are Filled with Bone Marrow and Spongy Tissue.

All Birds that Fly have Hollow Bones that have many Pockets of Air.
Their Bones are held together by Thin Bar-like Structures called Struts.


The Struts Prevent the Bones from Collapsing Inward with the
Pressure of Landing.. Healthy Mature Bird Bones are Stronger
than Mammal Bones because their Bones have Denser Calcium-Minerals.

When Bird Bones Break, they tend to Shatter and Splinter
while Mammal Bones tend to Break Relatively Cleanly.

Birds have Evolved for Flight by a Reduction in Absolute Bone Mass.
Unlike Humans, who have Massive Bones, Birds have Pneumatized Bones.
Their Bones contain Hollow Structures Accessible to Air.

Their Hollow Bones are Part of the Avian Respiratory System.
These Hollow Air Chambers are Honeycombed with Criss-Crossing Struts
which Increase Structural Strength while Reducing Bone Mass.

The Pneumatic Bones, include the Skull, Humerus, Clavicle, Keel,
Pelvic Girdle, Lumbar and Sacral Vertebrae.


Organized for Your Information by Linda M. Sweger August 2023.

Below I am Adding some Individual Cygnet-Swan Stories.



Sadly we have to Rescue and Move a Brood of Cygnets.
After Hours Traveling together the Cygnets were a Poopy Mess.

We had the Cygnets in our Spare Shower for Several Days.
The Slippy Surface Caused their Legs to Splay in ALL Directions.
Terry Towels on the Shower Floor Provided Traction.
This Brood was SO CUTE !

I Pinioned them and we Arranged for them
to go to a BackYard Rescue with a Pond to be Hand Raised.

One more Shower Clean-up and we are Heading to the Rescue.

The 7 Cygnets Grew that Summer and ALL were Adopted.
A Rescued Mute Cob cared for them as his.  So Cute.
Some Adult Swans will Accept Unrelated Cygnets
OTHERs will Reject and Attack them.


The Story of “Little Cutie.”

My Summary of her Groin Injures will be Brief.. 

There were a Number of Unrelated Swans and Cygnets
on a Pond of a Swan Breeder.

One of the Adult Female Swans got behind this Cygnet,
Put her Feet between the Cygnet’s Legs,
and Flipped the Cygnet’s Legs Back and Upward.
This Pulled the Groin Muscles.


This Action Disabled the Cygnet.. She could not Walk.
The Muscles were So Sore she would Barely Swim.
For Months “Little Cutie” had to be Carried from Place to Place.

It was Puzzling to me.. This Cygnet Stopped Growing.
Her Nest Mates on the Pond Grew Normally.
By December of that Year.. “Little Cutie” Passed.

I have Witness this Disabling Behavior by Adult Pens.
If they Disable Unwanted Cygnets.. they do not Survive.
In the Wild these Cygnets would be Left Behind and Perish.


Many Adult Swans want Nothing to do with Unrelated Cygnets.

This Young Cygnet’s Legs were Bent
When a Adult Cob Sat on her.. to Kill her.
He wanted to Push the Air OUT of her Lungs.

WEEKs of Quiet and she was Standing !
Her Overall Growth Slowed Down.. She Stunted.

Stunting occurs when there is Insufficient Nutrition
to Grow and Develop.
It is often Exacerbated by Disease and Poor Health.
“Regina” did not have a Good Appetite..

We Named her “Regina” – Little Queen..
Her Adopters Renamed her “Queen Elizabeth” > “Lizzie.”
It was Several Months before “Regina”/”Lizzie”
was able to Leave the Pond and Graze in their Grass Yard.

Watching “Lizzie” Struggle to Walk was so Sad..
She was Very Vulnerable out of the Pond..
A Predator Ended her Struggle.

  “Lily” was Found in our Neighborhood
after a Tropical Storm Blew Through. She was Full-Winged.
She was taken to a Swan Farm as a Rescue.
If Possible it is Good for Swans to have Company.  BUT…

The Older Swans Attacked her Over Night.
We brought her to our BackYard Enclosure to Recover
until we could Arrange a Forever Home.

Her Groin Muscles had been Pulled. She could barely Stand.
It took WEEKs for “Lily” to Stand, Walk and Turn Normally.

We Arrange for “Lily” to be Pinioned by a Veterinarian.

“Lily’s” New Home was Full of Adventures.


” Why is this Happening ? “

I Received a Call and an EMailed Photo of this Trumpeter Swan Cygnet.

He was One of a Brood of Four.  Three Cygnets were Healthy.
This Cygnet was Under Weight and Withdrew from the other Cygnets,
and his Legs were Turning Inward. 

???? Is this a Runt.. It is Not Developing Normally.
This Cygnet did not Survive very Long.


I Hope ALL your Cygnets will be Healthy !





June 19th, 2023 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in HARDWARE DISEASE KILLs Birds and Animals. - (Comments Off on DO NOT “NICKEL and DIME” your SWANs to DEATH.)

Hardware Disease in Backyard Poultry & Waterfowl.


Hardware Disease is a Problem for All Pets, Farm & Wild Creatures.


Click Images to Enlarge.

A Basic Definition..
“Hardware Disease” in backyard Chickens and other Birds is caused
by the ingestion of Metal Objects present in their Environment.
These Objects range from Sharp Objects that Abrade and ultimately
Penetrate the Gizzard to Objects that may contain Zinc or Lead
leading to Zinc or Lead Toxicosis
or some other Heavy Metal Toxicosis > POISONING !

The Term, “Hardware Disease” is a Misnomer.
It is not a Disease. But various Health Complications that can
Result when Poultry and Waterfowl Eat Coins, Screws, Nuts,
Bolts, Nails, Staples or other Metal Fragments in their Environment.


Chickens, Ducks, Geese and Waterfowl are Attracted to
Shiny Things they find on the Ground or in their Water.
Things like Coins, Nails, Screws, HOOKs, Staples,
Aluminum Foil, Jewelry, Bits of Wire > TWIST TIES.
( Broken Glass is ALSO Shiny. ) Pieces of Broken Glass or Pottery.


This is Extremely Dangerous and can Lead to Serious
Health Problems and Death as the Metals Break Down.

The Dissolved Metal enters the Blood Stream and Slowly
Poisons the Birds or Animals.


Small Pieces of Broken Glass or Pottery are the Cause
of Internal Cutting of the Digestive Track..


The Esophagus, Gizzard, Intestine Lacerations or Punctures
from the Ingestion of Sharp Things are Likely Fatal.
Causing Bleeding and Infection.

One of the 2 Year Old Female Trumpeter Swans in my Swan Network
was found Floating by her Pond Edge..  Her Necropsy found Several
Cuts in her Intestine – She Bleed to Death.  WHAT did she Swallow ?


Heavy Metal Disease is the Number One KILLER
of Healthy, Domestic Waterfowl.


It may take Days or Weeks for Symptoms to Emerge,
and by that Time it is generally Too Late to Save them.
HardWare Disease in Waterfowl

The Birds may have a Delayed Crop Emptying, Sour
or Impacted Crop, Green Diarrhea, Stained Vent Feathers.


If you Suspect your Chickens or Waterfowl have Swallowed
something they should not have, get you Bird to a Vet ASAP for X-Rays.


A Blood Test for Metal Poisoning may be Requested.
And if Possible Check for Internal Bleeding. ( Bloody Poop )


Pieces of Heavy Metal within the Upper Digestive Tract
may be Removed Endoscopically, via Gastric Lavage or Surgically.

Awareness and Prevention is Easier then trying to Treat
Birds/Waterfowl that have Swallowed any Foreign Object.
This is True for ALL Animals or Birds that Live InSide or OutSide.


Birds/Poultry/Waterfowl do NOT have Teeth.
They Do NOT Chew what they Eat.
Their Digestive System has Adapted to Unmasticated Foods.
They “Just Swallowing ANYthing” that Fits in their Beaks.

There are a Number of Processes that Modify Ingested Foods to make
the Nutrients and Organic Molecules Accessible for Cellular Function.

Avian Digestive Systems are VERY Different from Mammals.


In the Esophagus of many Birds there is a Pouch
called a Crop, which Stores Quickly Eaten Foods.

Swans are Grazers not Gobblers like Ducks and Geese.
When there is Adequate Foods Available,
Swans will Eat Small Amounts throughout their Day.


Ergo, Swans do NOT Seem to have much of a Crop.
Ingested Foods/Items Settle at the Bottom of their LONG Neck..

Food Passes from the Crop to the first of two Stomachs.

The First Stomach is the Proventriculus,
which Produces Digestive Juices that helps Soften Firm/Fibrous Foods.

The Second Stomach of Birds is the Gizzard,
where Food is Stored, Soaked, and Mechanically Ground.


AVIAN GIZZARD – is the Muscular Part of their Stomach
between the Sac-like Crop and the Intestines.
It Needs and uses Grit – Small, Hard Particles of Pebbles or Sand
to Mechanically Grind Seeds, Grains and Plant Fibers into Smaller Particles.
Food is Ground-Mashed-Softened into a Digestible Mush.

Birds/Swans Swallow small Stones or Grit as they Graze
to Aid the Grinding Process in the Gizzard.
These Hard Objects from their Environment remain
in the Gizzard longer then Softening Food Materials.


From the Gizzard, Digestible Food Passes into the Small Intestine.
Chemical Digestion and Absorption Occurs in the Intestine
so Nutrients can be used by the Body.

Birds do not have Separate Openings to Excrete Urine and Feces.
Instead, Uric Acid from the Kidneys is Secreted into the Large Intestine
and combines with the Waste from the Digestive Process.
This Waste is Excreted through an Opening called the Cloaca.

HARD Metal Objects DO NOT Just Pass through a Bird…
Depending on the Size..
If they Ingest a Hard Object, such as a Coin, Screw, Lead Fishing Sinker…


… these will NOT Pass through their Digestive System the way
they “might” in a Cat or Dog..
Instead they remain Rolling in the Gizzard and Slowly Dissolving..
Releasing Toxic Metal Chronically.


Iron, Lead, Copper, and Aluminum.
These Metals are Prone to Corrode-Dissolve over Time.

When “Hardware” is Swallowed the Grinding Action of the Muscle
can cause Damage to the Gizzard.
These Birds-Poultry Die from Septicemia (Blood Infection or Sepsis).
This is a Very Painful Process.. they are SUFFERING !

The Trumpeter Cygnet below.. Has NO Pink Color in his Tongue..
It is Severely Anemic and can Barely Breathe.. Few Red Blood Cells..

The Birds and/or Animals are Helpless to Tell Anyone.


The Larger Pieces will Remain in their Gizzard,
Smaller Objects “may” pass through the Digestive Tract
Causing Lacerations, Perforations, Bleeding and Infections.

Domestic and Wild Waterfowl Pick up Lead Shot in the Waters
where Wild Birds are Hunted.  Waterfowl sift Mud and Silt through
their Beaks, swallowing the Grit and other Small Items.
These Small Lead Pellets are Ingested with the Grit Fowl
need to Grind Down Food in their Gizzard.

A Swan’s long Neck allows them to reach further down
under Water and this is why more Swans become Poisoned
by Lead than Ducks or Geese.


The Lead, being soft, is ground down by the Gizzard and Absorbed
into the Blood Stream, Resulting in Muscular Problems.
The Young Cygnet below.. Can not hold its Neck Erect..


This Gives Swans the Appearance of having a Kinked Neck, as the
Muscles Weaken and the Swans are unable to Support their Neck Correctly.


It is Suspected that Low Levels of Lead Poisoning may Contribute to
Deaths caused by Flying Accidents, as Agility and Eyesight may be affected.
>>> No Studies have been Conducted..

The Young Cygnet below.. Flew into the Side of a Bridge..

The Birds/Waterfowl become Victims of their Environment.

Some Birds are able to Regurgitate Undigested Material
> Food Pellets.
Birds of Prey > Eagles, Falcons and Hawks, Spit-up Pellets.
Pellets allows them to remove some Indigestible Material
from their Proventriculus.
BUT, Even these Birds may Retain Metal Items.. and become Poisoned.

This Eagle’s XRay Shows Two Lead Pellets Retained
It only takes ONE Lead Shot Gun Pellet to Kill an Eagle.


Having Domestic Poultry/Swans is like having Small Children.
We NEED to be Aware of Objects within their Environment
that may be Ingested.

An X-ray can Detect Hardware in a Bird’s Gizzard.
The Sooner this is Checked the Better the Chance
the Object can be Removed Successfully by a Scoping.


But without Symptoms of Illness or Suspecting or Seeing
an Ingested Metal Item NO X-Ray is ordinarily taken
of a Bird/Waterfowl/Animal with Hardware Disease.


After the Metal Object is in the Gizzard for a While..
Surgery into the Gizzard is Technically Possible,
but usually too Risky to be Considered a Reasonable Option.
Especially when the Bird is Weakened by Metal Poisoning.

Early Symptoms of Hardware Disease include:

Decreased Appetite and Spending Time Alone.
( they are in Pain..)

More Advanced Symptoms may include:

Loss of Appetite ( possibly increase of fluid intake)
Dehydration . . . . .Vomiting
Weight Loss . . . . . Weakness and Lethargy
Watery Bright Greenish or Bloody Droppings
Drooping Wings . . . Loss of Vision
Unsteadiness . . . . Difficulty Walking
Seizures . . . . . . Death ( Suffering Ends )


The Fact that SOMEONE would offer for SALE.. Photos of Dead Swans..
WHY ?? !!  So Sad..


Check Areas around your Pond, Barns, Pastures and Home
where your Waterfowl might be Wandering and Foraging.


Make Frequent Inspections of any Free Range Area
for Small Metal Objects, Coins, Glass or ANY Trash.


Small Items of Construction Materials Buried in the Dirt
from a Former Owners may Resurface.
Chickens are Good at Digging Things Up that have been
Dropped and Covered with a Thin Layer of Soil.


The Chickens are Less likely to Eat these Metal Pieces..
but your Ducks, Geese and Swans are at Risk of Ingesting them.


They will Suffer Copper, Zinc or Lead Poisoning from
Eating Lost Coinage.. Pennies, Dimes, Nickels, etc.


Sweep with a Metal Detector after Construction or
Building – Fence Repair Projects.

Keep Track of Earrings or other Jewelry that could be Lost.

Avoid using Galvanized Metal Feeders, Waterers and Fencing.

DO NOT use Glass or Pottery in Areas the Waterfowl Visit.

When using Weed Whackers, Lawn Mowers, Chainsaws
or other Types of Equipment near your Poultry/Pond Area
be Aware these may cause Small Metal Pieces Flying about !

Check Bales of Hay, Straw and Shavings for Debris before
using them as Bedding.

Potential Sources of Lead Toxins

Fishing Weights, Sinkers and Lures. Lead Gun Shot.


Lead-based Paint and Paint Chips (especially Around older Structures)
Christmas ornaments, Toys and Toy Parts Imported from China
Coins, Costume Jewelry, Batteries.


Potential Sources of Zinc Toxins
(also known as New Wire Disease)

Galvanized Aviary Wire, Galvanized Nails and Staples.
(the more Shiny the Wire, the Higher the Zinc content)
Galvanized Metal Feeders and Waterers.
Coins, Fertilizers, Metal Contaminated Soil.

They are Hard to See in this Picture..
there are Dozens of 2 Inch Pieces of Wire Fence Trimmings
Left Laying on the Ground…. So Careless.. Deadly.

Zinc Hardware (Washers, Nuts, Wire)
U.S. Pennies Minted after 1983

Potential Sources of Iron Toxins

Nails, Water from Older Iron Water Pipes
High Levels of Iron (Ore) in the Soil.
Scrap Metal, Machine Parts, Decaying Metal Structures.
Insecticides Check Ingredients and Follow ALL Instructions.
(especially a Concern if you have House Chickens or Ducks)

Burn Pits where Folks might Burn Old Wood may have Small Pieces
of Metal in the Ashes.. NAILs, STAPLEs, SCREWs, ETC. CHECK..


Over the Years I have Heard People Say:
“Pennies are NOT Worth Picking UP.”

Objects as Simple as Lost Coins can be Fatal if Swallowed.


The U.S. Minted Penny has been Pressed/Struck
from Different Combinations of Metal over the Years.


1909-1956 . . . . . .95% Copper & 5% Tin and Zinc.
1856–1864 . . . . . .88% Copper & 12% Nickel.
1864–1942 . . . . . .Bronze > 95% Copper & 5% Tin and Zinc.
1943 Steel Cent . . . .Zinc-Coated Steel.
1944–1946 . . . . . .Gilding Metal > 95% Copper & 5% Zinc.
1947–1962 . . . . . .Bronze > 95% Copper & 5% Tin and Zinc.
1962–September 1982. .Gilding Metal > 95% Copper & 5% Zinc.
October 1982–Present .Copper-Plated Zinc > 97.5% Zinc & 2.5% Copper.

Most Nickels are 25% Nickel and 75% Copper.
1916 – 1938 Buffalo Nickel are 25% Nickel and 75% Copper.
1942 TO 1945: the SILVER WAR NICKELS
War Nickels are 56% copper, 35% Silver, and 9% Manganese.

Our Tiny Silver Dimes.. Easier to See and Swallow.

1796 to 1837 Dimes were Composed of 89.24% Silver & 10.76% Copper.
The Silver Percentage was Increased to 90.0% with the Seated Liberty Dime.

Dimes from 1965 to the Present are Struck from a Clad Metal
Composed of Outer Layers of 91.67% Copper & 8.33% Nickel Alloy,
Bonded to a Pure Copper Core.

Today’s Quarters are “Clad,” which means Coated.
Both the Quarter and Dime have a layer of Pure Copper
inside layers of a Nickel-Copper Mix.
On the Outside of a Quarter “the Bread” is a Nickel-Copper Mixture
that is Silver in Color. The “inside Filling” is Copper.
The layers of Metal help the Coins last longer in Circulation.

A Quarter’s overall Composition is 8.33% Nickel & 91.67% Copper.

Before 1965, U.S. Quarters were made of 90 % Silver.
The U.S Mint stopped making Quarters with Silver in 1965.
U.S. 50 Cent Piece..
In 1965, the U.S. introduced layered-composition coins made of
a pure Copper Core Sandwiched between two Cupronickel Outer Faces.

The Silver Content of Dimes and Quarters was Eliminated,
but the Kennedy Half-Dollar composition contained Silver
(reduced from 90% to 40%) from 1965 to 1970.

The Kennedy Half Dollar has been struck in four different
compositions: 90% Silver, 40% Silver Clad, Copper-Nickel, Clad, and Gold.

The Kennedy Silver Half Dollar refers to Half Dollar Coins struck
by the U.S. Mint from 1964-1970.
Only the 1964-minted Coins were composed of 90% Silver.

1965 through 1969, the U.S. Mint issued a circulating Half Dollar
with 40% Silver.

What is the Metal content of the Susan B Anthony Dollar?
75% Copper, 25% Nickel, clad to a pure Copper Core.


The Information for the Penny and Dime Metal Contents
is from Wikipedia.


ENOUGH EXAMPLES: You get the Idea..
Metal is Dangerous.  NOT for Eating.. 

So is Broken Glass, Pottery and Shards of Hard Plastics.
Hardware Disease is EXTREMELY SERIOUS.
This NEEDS to be Treated ASAP – Should NOT be Ignored.

A Visit to a Veterinarian is the Only Way to Know
what can be done.. and what Treatment will Help you Pets.

If you Suspect ANY Type of Poisoning.
Treatment by your Vet may include:

A Chelating Agent which Works by Binding With
and Filtering the Heavy Metal OUT of the Body. Takes TIME !

Vitamin B Complex (Thiamine in particular) to Prevent further
Poisoning and Allow the Body Tissues to Recover.

Anti-Convulsants to Prevent Seizures.

Bulking Agents can be Fed to Assist in Removing Small Particles
from the Intestine.

Surgery under Anesthesia to Remove Large Piece of Metal.

Antibiotics to Prevent Infection while the Bird is Recovering.

Euthanasia if Surgery is not an Option.
It is Unkind to allow these Birds to Suffer and Slowly Die.


Prevention IS Better then Treatment !
Be Vigilant at Keeping their Area Free of Metal Debris..
All Human Trash has a Potential to Cause Harm.

Hardware Disease ( and/or Heavy Metal Poisoning ),
is Very Difficult to Treat, but Most is Preventable.

Metal Detectors to Clean Pond Areas of Small Pieces of Metal..
Great Idea.

Magnetic Sweepers.. WIDE Range of Prices.
Doing a Sweep for Hidden Metal may SAVE your
Chickens and Waterfowl from this Painful Condition.


A Magnetic Sweeper Pickup Tool has Limits.
U.S. Coins are NOT Attracted to Magnets.

DO NOT TOSS Money in WATER where Waterfowl Live.



THIS TOPIC PAGE was Organized.. During 2022 and 2023.
After a Sad, Tragic Death. “What did he Swallow ?”
Compiled by PA SwanLover Linda .. (c) Linda M. Sweger

My Soul is in the Sky.
— William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V. Scene I.
THIS TOPIC PAGE will be Cross Referenced with another
TOPIC Page.. about Heavy Metal Poisoning.. Coming Soon..


February 2nd, 2023 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in Swans Gather Nest Materials - (Comments Off on SWANs GATHERING NESTING MATERIALS)

WHAT Materials do SWANs Like for their NESTs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Topic Page will be Much Like the Subject,
And Filled with Memories.


February 2nd is “Ground Hog Day.”


It is a Good Time to Start Planning for your Swans Nesting.
In Six Weeks they will be Nesting.

I Realize how often I have Attempted to Shared this Information Verbally
with Folks New to having Swans..

They are Excited to Experience Swans Nesting for the First Time..
Many want to Know “WHAT Can we DO to Help the Swans ?”
or Simply What to Expect..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We have had the Fun of Visiting a Fair Number of Nesting Swans.
Some were Feral Wild – Most were Domestics on Private Property.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Some we had Visited Several Years..

If you can See what Natural Mute Swan Nests Looks Like..
Then you will Know what Materials to Gather for them.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Folks in my Swan Network have Shared their Nesting Photos.
As a Result, I have Lots of Examples.. Thanks to ALL ! 

Here Goes..!

To Enlarge Images – Right Click Image then Open in a New Tab.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Remember there are NO 100% Rules.. working with Swans.
These are General Common Behaviors..
What I am Sharing are from our Swans Adventures.

I am Sharing this Info about Nesting Material FYI..
To Reduce the Loss of Fertile EGGs by Dampness Spoiling..
AND to Reduce the Risk of Fungal Lung Infections for the Pens..

In the Image Below.. the First Cygnet has Hatched..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

First a Basic Time Line of the Mute Swan Reproductive Season…
These General Behaviors are Similar with all Swan Species.
When they Nest during the Year will Vary.

Late Fall – Early December
The Annual Reproductive Hormones of Mute Swans are Increasing.
Pair Bonded Mute Swans will Start Courting.
Swimming Side by Side.. Sometimes Dipping their Heads..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Watch for the Cobs to Start Moving Twigs About.. Cute !
Swans Gather Nest Materials

. . . and More Chest to Chest with Head Turning – a Display of Affection..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Swans will Often “Snort” with Happy Affection to Each Other.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
This is a Mature Cob ( 23 Years Old ) and a Maiden Pen ( 3 Years Old.)
This was their First Year as a Bonded Pair.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

By this TIME YOU Need to Give the Cob more Space ( and Understanding )
Your Cob will be Protective and Aggressive..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

” NEVER Turn your Back on a Hormonal Cob ! “
DO NOT Wear White or Take White Objects when you Visit.
WHITE Triggers the Cob to Attack.. 

Never Turn Your Back on a Hormonal Male Swan

Your Cob’s Brain is NOW Controlled by his Hormones.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Swan Cobs “Strut” and “Busk”.. Threatening..!
Get TOO Close and they will FLOG !! OUCH !

Working Around an Aggressive Swan

Swans Gather Nest Materials

GIVE him SPACE and Understanding..
He is doing the Job his Instincts Require.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Swans are Ground Nesting Birds..
Cobs NEED to be Fierce when Protecting their Female.
Pens are MOST Vulnerable while Nesting.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Nesting Swans will Draw Attention..
The Curious Public can be a BIG Problem !!!
From Getting TOO Close > > Causing the Cob to Attack..
..to Doing Harm to Stationary Pens or Destroying the EGGs.
Nesting is a VERY Vulnerable Time for Swans.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

If the Swans’ Nest is Easily Viewed by the Public..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

It is a Good Idea to Protect your Swans and their Nest.
You may need to Erect a Temporary Fence !
Be Sure the Swans have Access to their Water..
Swans Gather Nest Materials
And a Sign to Warn the Public to Keep a Safe Distance.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Pen will Depend on her Cob to Protect her and their Cygnets.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
to NEST on your Property.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Nest Needed LOTs of Coarse Dry Material..
Her Pond has Over Flowed at this Spot.. Draining Under her Nest.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

We Spent a LOT of Time with Some of these Nesting Swans..
Some Trusted us..

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Some we just had to Respect and Keep our Distance.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

You WANT your Cob to Protect their Nest !
Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Mute Pen in a Public Park is Standing over her EGGs.
Her Nest is a Huge Pile of Old Tree Leaves..
Her EGGs did not Hatch..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Mating Activity will Begin in January..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Mute Swans will Mate Frequently until All their EGGs
are in their Nest and Incubation has Begun.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Early to Mid-March the Mute Swans will Select a Nesting Site..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Sometimes the Cob Picks the Site, Sometimes the Pen Decides.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Pair of Mute Swans were Nesting in a Wild Feral Setting. Swans Gather Nest Materials

You will See the Pen EATING, EATING.
She will be Poking into Soft Mud for Insect Larva..

Swans Gather Nest Materials
This Supplies Protein and Calcium for her EGG Development.
It is a Good Idea to Provide a Feed Mixture with Layer Pellets
Starting in January – And again when Nesting is Over.
Female Mute Swans Eat VERY Little while “Sitting.”
This is NORMAL !!

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Cob will Gather Branches and Twigs for the Base..
One Piece at a Time.. Often Tossing them Over his Shoulder.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Cob Swings a Twig in the Direction of the Nest,
Picks it Up AGAIN and Swings the Twig Closer to the Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

It can be Interesting to Watch ALL this from a Safe Distance.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Cob has Claimed this Area.. and he WILL Protect it !
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Cob will become more Protective of his Female.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Cob below is Guarding the First EGG in their Nest.
The Pen will NOT Spend much Time on the Nest
until she is Ready to Incubate her EGGs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Mute Swans Gather Lots of Twigs and Branches.. for Drainage.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This was a Very Cute Behavior.. “Pretty Girl” was Out on the River.
It was Very Breezy.  She would Lift her Wings and “Sail” Up the River
while Singing to “Handsome Fellow.”  So Cute.
She would Turn, Float back Down River.. and Repeat..


Mute Swans will Select a Nest Site near Water..
Their Cygnets will be taken to the Water soon after Hatching.
The Cygnets Need Lots of Insects their First Two Weeks.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Somehow, the Pens know where there will be LOTs of BUGs !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

It is a Good Idea to Learn about Feeding Domestic Cygnets.
So you are READY if/when they Hatch.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Feeding Swan Cygnets

Swans Gather Nest Materials

As You View these Nest Images you will see how BIG they ARE !
And the Types of Material the Mute Swans Naturally Gather.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Many Mute Swans will Select a Place with One Protected Side..
A Large Tree Trunk, Large Rock, Hill, Wall, etc.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

A Protected Solid Wall in a Public Park.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
These Sister Mute Swans are Nesting with a Fence to their Back..
Their Pond is Steps Away.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

When Pens are Nesting without a Cob,
their Nests are Basically Cavity Nests.

They are Less Likely to have a BIG Twiggy Nest.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Without a Male their EGGs will Not be Fertile..
They Still NEED to Nest !

The Link Below will Provide Helpful Information.


Female Swans without a Mature Male to Protect them are VERY Vulnerable.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Swans Gather Nest Materials

As the BIG EGGs are Being Laid.. One Every Other Day..
The Pens will Preen Loosening Contour Feathers from her Brood Patch.
Her Brood Patch has Extra Blood Vessels to Transfer Warmth.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
This Allows her Warm Skin to get Close to Incubate her EGGs.

And this Lines the Nest Cavity with Soft Feathers.
“Feathering the Nest.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials

A Mute Swan Clutch may Vary from 3 to 9 EGGs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Six BIG EGGs is a Nice Average.

A Clutch of SIX EGGs takes ELEVEN Days to Complete.
A Clutch of EIGHT EGGs takes FIFTEEN Days.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Healthy Swan EGGs can Support 25-26 Pounds of Weight Pressure.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

We were Learning.  I did Put Food Near the Nest. >>WRONG !
Then I Read that this is NOT a Good Idea.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Do your Best to Remove Hazards from the Nest Area.
Things like Ropes, Cords, Wires, Trash, etc.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Swans will Rarely Poop In or Near their Nest.


If you want to Assist your Swans by Gathering Materials for them…
These Examples will Give you Ideas of what they would Collect Naturally.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I am Sharing this Info about Nesting Material FYI..
To Reduce the Loss of Fertile EGGs by Dampness Spoiling..
AND to Reduce the Risk of Fungal Lung Infections for the Pens..

IF POSSIBLE.. Avoid Hay or Straw as Nesting Material..
NO Pine Tree Branches.. Pine Pitch gets Sticky..
NO Wood Chips.. TOO DUSTY.. for Inhaling..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Small Tree Twigs.. DRY Grasses.. like Ornamental Grass..> >  are Good..
OR Last Fall’s.. GRASS that turned Dry Over Winter..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

YOU want the Nest to DRAIN Well.. Somethings do not Drain..
and the Nests develop Mildew and Mold..

Over the Years,
I have Observed that Nests with Hay or Straw have more Failures..
And the Risk of the Pen Inhaling Mold Spores when Turning her EGGs increases.

These Lung Infection Over Time Weaken the Pens.. and they Eventually Succumb.
Fungal Infections in the Lungs are VERY Difficult to Treat..
It can takes Months of Medications..
By the Time a Fungal Infection is Diagnosised,
it is Often  TOO Advanced to Treat to Save the Swan..

The young Swan below was Housed in a Building with Old Hay for Bedding.
When it was Noticed he was having Trouble Breathing.. it was Too Late..
He was Surrendered to us.. He Died before we could get him to see a Veterinarian..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Aspergillosis is a Fungal Infection generally affects the Respiratory System.
( common with Young Poultry where Husbandry is Not so Great.)

Penn State Extention:  Aspergillosis in Poultry..

HAY – is an Edible Grass.. it has Starch- Calories..
It is Food for many Animals – Horses, Goats, Rabbits,,,etc.
The Starch will Develop Mold.. over Time in Winter Storage..
In Storage it Cycles from Warm to Damp Air to Warm -Repeat..
By Spring Bales that were Stored in the Fall.. have Mold in them..

STRAW – Packs – Does not Drain Well.. Slowly Rots when Wet..
will Develop Mildew-Mold.. The Nest Cavity Stays DAMP…

IT is the Mold Spores that can Easily get into a Swan’s Lungs..
when the Pen is Turning her Eggs Several Times a Day.
To Reduce this Risk.. It is Safer NOT to Use Hay or Straw.

When the Pen Rolls her Eggs she Breathes in the Spores…
Or the Dampness Seeps into the Eggs along with Bacteria and Mold.
Dampness may Soften Egg Shells, Increase Cracking, Spoiling the Eggs ! 
Swans Gather Nest Materials

## SAFE Swan Bedding
More Details are in the Above Topic Page.


If Trash is Near the Nest.. It will Likely End Up in the Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Once the Pen Starts to “SIT” Full-Time.. Incubation Begins.
Make a Note of this Date.. ! !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Timing Swan Eggs to Hatching


The First Two Feral Mute Swan Nests we Hoped to Visit and Observe in 2006
were Flooded by Snow Melt and Heavy Spring Rains..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Gathered Reeds Acted as a Raft and their Nest Floated.
Until the Rising River became Swift and the Nest was Swept Away.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Their Second 2006 Nest was OUT on an Old Crumbled Bridge Pier..
The River Flooded their Nest after several Weeks..
Swans Gather Nest Materials


In the Spring of 2007, the Swans’ Luck Changed and so did Ours.
The River did Rise within a Foot of Ruining their Nest Again.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
We had been Visiting with “Handsome Fellow” and “Pretty Girl”
for Close to Three Years.. Several Times a Week..
It was Wonderful how much Time they Allowed us to Spend with them.
Thanks to Digital Photography, we were able to Document this Adventure.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We went to their Remote Nest along the River every Three Days..

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Watched Quietly Sitting within Feet of the Nest..
Their Nest was HUGE..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I was Intrigued with their Relationship.. Watching the Cob being Protective.
Listening to their Muttering Vocals.. Seeing their Tender Interactions.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Cob would Position himself between Us and his Pen.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Tender and Polite Behavior between them was Surprising.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I Learned a Great Deal during these Visits..


The Pens Incubates their EGGs at 101 Degrees.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Mute Cobs can Protect and Keep the EGGs Warm,
But they CAN NOT Incubate.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
These are Beautiful Swans …. No Words can Express.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

It was ALL Brown and Muddy – No Greens when they Started to Nest.
With each Passing Week the River Plants Helped to Hide their Location.. Almost.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

I Calculated when the Nest might Mature.. I was Off by Two Days..
As we Walked into the Nest Site we were Greeted by the Swan Family.
Three Tiny Cygnets had Hatched from their Clutch of Six EGGs.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

After 30 Minutes along the River “Pretty Girl” headed back to the Nest,
her Tiny Cygnets close behind.. It was Nap Time..  SO Cute !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We did not get to see them at the Nest after that Day.
The Other Three EGGs.. ??? Were Missing ???

Swans Gather Nest Materials

During the Next Visit..
We Noticed that “Handsome’s” One Wing was Broken.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
“Handsome” had Protected his Family from Someone !!
His Injury was Consistent with being Hit by a Boat Oar.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
There were So Many Perils Living Free and Feral.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We were Not the Only People Watching the Swans.
All the Joy was about to become a Series of Sadness.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Before the Cygnets were 2 Weeks Old, All Three would be Taken.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Weeks Later we were Told a Person Removed the Cygnets.
All the Folks Along the River were Disappointed. Most Enjoyed the Swans.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

By Mid-July we had to Remove “Handsome Fellow” from the River.
He was Injured Several Times.. We wanted to Save him.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
We had Lots more to Learn.. ! !
And No Idea where all this would Lead. 


The Following is an Example of Poor Nesting Material.

“George” would Annually Gather a Nest
in the Corner of the Family Herb Garden.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Year the Nesting Material was Mostly Dry Leaves and a Few Twigs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
“Gracie” had been Laying EGGs.. Burying them while she was Off Eating.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Area had Several Days of Heavy Spring Rain… Soaking the Nest.
The Dried Leaves became Soggy Mush.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Clutch was WET and Very Blue.. Likely Spoiled. ( They were. )

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Swans’ Owners kept Hoping the EGGs would Hatch.. 15 Days OverDue.

We Assisted in Removing the EGGS !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

In 2014, Heavy Spring Rains Ruined their EGGs Again..
The Nest was Getting Soggy and Mushy..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

On Day 42, we Stopped to Help Remove the Smelly EGGs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I Suggested Next Spring the Family Give their Swans
a LARGE BUNCH of Ornamental Grasses from their Landscaping.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Allowed to Stand and Dry Over the Winter..
Coarse Ornamental Grasses make Good Nesting Materials.
Swans Gather Nest Materials


This Older Cob, “George” was a Favorite to Visit..
While Selecting these Images I Smiled and Cried.
The Spring of 2015 he had Lots of Dry Material for their Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

One Warm Spring Day, I Sat in a Safe Place and Observed “George”
as he Happily Worked with the Long Dried Grasses Left for him to Use.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
It was Wonderful to see how Happy “George” was Organizing the Stems.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

His Mate, “Gracie” was Out on the Far End of their Pond.. EATING…
Swans Gather Nest Materials
I Watched “George” Working for an Hour.  He was So Happy.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

It was Time to Go.  I Enjoyed this Show..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

As we Prepared to Leave…
I Noticed there was ONE BIG EGG in the Nest !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We Stopped again when “Gracie” was Sitting Full-Time. 

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Now we Watch and Wait..  Sigh !
Swans Gather Nest Materials
“George” was Everything a Mute Cob should be.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

 In 2015, “George” was 28 Years Old..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

He Lived to be 30 Years Old..  I Miss “George.”


In 2015, we had Three Mature Mute Swans on a Lovely Country Pond.

All Rescued in 2009 & 2010 when Young Cygnets..
NestMate Sisters “Brooke” & “Spring.”  And Unrelated “Meadow.”
We were Very Lucky this Threesome was Happy Together.