A site dedicated to sharing general care of mute swans


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.
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..
These are General Common Behaviors..
What I am Sharing are from our Swans Adventures.

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
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…
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.

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 to Protect 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.

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.
And 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.. 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.”

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.

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 Tree, 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

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 the 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 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.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
We wanted to Encourage the Swans to Nest on the Pond’s Island.
Over the Winter Months we Collected Lots of Fallen Tree Debris.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Swans Watched us for Weeks as we Put the Branches and Twigs on a Pile.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
In Early April we Started to Add Dry Ornamental Grasses.
The Swans Got the Hint !! and Did Start to Work All this into a BIG Messy Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
“Meadow” was Surprisingly Tolerant of our Being Close to the Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
“Brooke” is Usually the First to Nest.  “Spring” Two Weeks Later.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

BIG SMILE >> There are EGGs in the Nest !

Swans Gather Nest Materials

NOW “Meadow” was Protecting the Nest Area !!  
Time for us to Observe from a Safer Place.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Spring the Sisters Decided to Nest Together.
Most Years they Gathered Separate Nests..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

“Meadow” was Patrolling, Busking, Macho BIG and Doing his Job.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Incubation is 37 Days.. Not Much Happening..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Watching the Girls Turning their EGGs.. ALL Wings and Necks..

This was the First and LAST Time they Shared the Same Nest.
The Girls Learned it is Better to have “Your Own Nest.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials

They were Very Patient with Each Other..
And, I did Enjoy having this Photo Opportunity..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Girls took Turns Leaving the Nest for Short Breaks.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

“Brooke” Left the Nest on her 42nd Day.. She did Not Return.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Sweet “Spring” had TWO More Weeks to “Sit.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Most of their EGGs had been Stolen by Raccoons.
Several were Unfertile and had Started to Rot.. Smelling Awful !
Several of the Replacement EGGs made from Real Swan EGGs were Missing.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

It was Time to End “Spring’s” Nesting for this Year..  So she would Start to Eat.
I Walked Slow toward her and Watched her Leave the Nest.
She went into the Water for a Break.  I had Tossed Chopped Green in the Water.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

She was Busy with the Floating Vegetables as I Removed the Last Three EGGs.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

By the Following Morning.. the Nest was Closed.
“Spring” did not Return..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

In a Few Days, we Gathered all the Nest Material for Compost.

Old Nests are Great Places for Mice, Snakes, Insects, etc.
The Old Nest Materials will Rot and Mildew..
It is Better to Start with New Nest Materials Next Year.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


The Pond below had Two Females Living Together.  No Male. 
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Pens have their Nest Very Close to the Pond..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

They were Gathering Dried Flower Bed Debris..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

By the Time her EGGs were ALL in the Nest,
The Plants were Growing.. to Surround her.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


This Nest was Gathered by a Pen that did not have a Male
to Protect her Nest.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Each Time she Laid an EGG it was Stolen.
The Pen can NOT Protect or Sit on her EGGs until ALL are in the Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

With a Brood Pair, the Cob will Guard the EGGs until ALL are Laid.
His Body Can NOT Incubate the EGGs..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Proud Cob is Protecting their EGGs.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

SIX BIG BEAUTIFUL EGGs.  It is TIME to Incubate.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Several Times a Week we would Bring a Handful of New Material
for her Nest.  “Nest Gifts” Ferns, Twigs, Dried Grasses.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
This gives the Pen Something to Do.. while she is “Sitting.”
ONLY Do this if your Swans Trust You !
Swans Gather Nest Materials
OR Put your “Nest Gifts” in a Place your Pen can See them.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

“Meadow” was 13 Years Old.. Summer 2022.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


The Mute Swan Nesting below is on a Pile of Straw.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

By the End of her Time the Nest was Very Damp and Mildewing..
None of her EGGs Hatched.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

These Trumpeter Swans had Straw for their Nest.. None of their EGGS Hatched.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Over and Over Straw OUT in the Weather had Poor Results.

The Straw Nest Below was Sheltered from Rain.. and Cygnets HATCHED !
Swans Gather Nest Materials


In the Spring – Summer of 2009,
we had a Number of Heavy Rain Storms.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Our Pen SAT Tight on her EGGs.. Keeping them Dry.
She Spread her Wings a Bit so the Rain Ran Around the Cavity.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Her Nest had Good Drainage and the EGGs were Dry.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Pens Count their EGGs before Leaving the Nest
for a Quick Break.. and Again when she Returns.
Swans Gather Nest Materials


The Young Pen below was Living Alone on her Pond.
She was Using this Stand of Dried Ornamental Grass to Create a Nest.
Swans Gather Nest Materials


This Mature Black Australian Cob liked this Raked Pile of Fall Leaves..
No EGGs, No Mate .. Just an Instinct to “Sit.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Black Australian Swans Nest Twice each Year.
They will Frequently use a Shelter to Nest.. ( Needs to be Secure at Night.)
Using Clean Straw is Reasonable since it will Not be Getting Wet..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

These Black Swans did Hatch Cygnets..


This Pen’s Nest is Perched on a Fallen Log.. Great Drainage.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


This is the Remains of a Swans’ Nest we found Along a Creek.
The Swan Family had Left by the Time we Learned of them.
Swans Gather Nest Materials


Semi-Wild Mute Swans Nesting on a Large Community Lake.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Different Swan Nests from the Same Large Lake..
Swans Gather Nest MaterialsAnother Mute Swan Nest from the Same Large Lake..

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This Nest was Gathered on the Bank of a Private Pond.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Lots of Plant Material to Gather for her Nest.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Beautiful Mute Pens “Sitting.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This is a VERY COOL SHOT… THANKs Nick !
Swans Gather Nest Materials

These are Mute Swans on a Large Private Mountain Lake.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I Love to Snap Photos..
and I have Learned many Interesting Things as I Review these Images.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


These Pens had Unfertile EGGs.  No Cygnets.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

Look Closely.. there are Tiny Cygnets.  
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Swan Photos have been Share from Far and Wide.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Swans Below Placed their Nest Next to Ornamental Grasses.
The Pen had a Solid Wall behind her.. and was Close to the Pond.

Swans Gather Nest Materials


We Set-up this Temporary Fencing to Help Protect a Nest Area.

There were Numbers of Foxes and People
that Moved Freely in this Semi-Public Place.
Occasionally People Walking their Unleashed Dogs..

Swans Gather Nest Materials
I was able to Find this Wooden Snow Fencing at Tractor Supply.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We Collected a Variety of Twigs and Dried Ornamental Grasses.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

We Fed the Swans Close to the New Fencing..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Lots of Photos were Taken on Cloudy Days.. Terrible Color..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Swans seemed Comfortable by the Nest Site.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

For Days we Observed “Handsome” Working inside the Fencing.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Swans were Mating, Mating, Mating.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
We were Sure our Plan was Working.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

A Busy Cob Arranging the Nest Materials.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

We were Enjoying Watching the Swans at this Early Stage of Nesting.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
We Expected to See EGGs in the Nest Soon..
Swans Gather Nest Materials
One Spring Morning the Swans were Gone.. !!
The Rogue Swan, “Jezebelle – Harmony” did not want to Nest by the Pond..
There were Spring Golf Carts Buzzing About, Trees were being Cut Down.
Large Trucks were Rumbling by Several Times a Day.
She had Lived Feral and wanted a More Private Place.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Our Best Guess… the Swans Walked Down the Small Stream
that Drains the Fine and Private Place Pond.
We Found the Swans.  They Decided to Nest along a Local Creek.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

These were Two of the Swans we had Visited for Years along the River.
“Handsome Fellow” & “Sweet Harmony”  ( aka “Jezebelle” )
They had Lived Free and Feral.. They had Taken their Wild Life Back.
We Tried to Keep them Safe.. Now we had Little Control.

“Handsome Fellow’s” Previous Female “Pretty Girl” had been Shot
at the Beginning of the 2008 Canada Hunting Season..


More and More I Hear Swan Owners Planning for a Floating Platform
for the Swans to Nest on..  Pens are SO Vulnerable while Nesting.
Swans Gather Nest Materials



There are Many Types of Swan Nests.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

I Added some Dried Hydrangea Blooms just for Fun.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

The Bushy Growth of Ornament Grasses make Good Camouflage.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

“Meadow” had Fun Play-Hiding under the Tall Grasses..
Swans Gather Nest Materials


LOCATION is Also a Factor for a Swan Nest.

Their Nests are Close to Water.
Along a Creek or River Flooding is a Problem.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

We Watch the Swans Living Wild-Feral Lose most of their Nests.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
These Swans were Flooded Twice in Spring 2009.
They Surprised us by Gathering a Third Nest.
Adding MORE Mud Under the Twigs..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

“Harmony” laid Four Eggs for her Third Early Summer Clutch.
One was Stolen… Three Hatched July 14-15th..
Two Cygnets Died in the Nest.. The One Surviving Cygnet is our “Meadow.”

Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Nest was SO HIGH.. that it Took the Tiny Cygnet quite a while to Climb
UP into the Nest the Very First Time..  “Harmony” Called him from the Top.
“Handsome” Encouraged and Guided his Little Legs from below.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
While the Swans were Out on the Creek with Little “Meadow”
We Added Mulch Type Material for a Soft Easy Ramp.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

One of the Adult Swans would Check the Nest
before the Cygnet Waddled Up for his Naps.

Swans Gather Nest Materials
Each Time we Witnessed the Swans Returning to their Nest,
One of the Adults would Approach the Nest and Check for any Danger
before Allowing the Cygnet to Scamper Up.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Swan Family Used the Nest for Four Days and Nights..
The Fifth Morning, “Handsome” Stood for a Very Long Time
Studying the Nest.. Watching.. Listening.
He did not Allow the Family to Return.. Instead Closed the Nest.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
I have Witnessed Several Cobs do this.. Check the Nest One Last Time.
Place a Few Twigs in the Cavity.. and Leave for the Season..
Reminds me of Closing Up a Summer Home and Leaving.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
The Swan Family headed off along the Creek..
“Thank You” to ALL the Home Owners along the Creek
Who Allowed us to Visit with the Swans along their BackYard Water’s Edge.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
These Swan Sagas are Long and Winding..

In the End..  We had to Rescue Little “Meadow” at Five Weeks Old,
a Snapping Turtle Severely Damaged his One Foot.

In November 2009, “Sweet Harmony” was Shot..
“Handsome Fellow” Disappeared at the End of January  2010.
We Never Learned his Fate.

“Meadow” was in our Care at our Home for Nine Months.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
There are Many Chapters to our Swan Stories from then to Now..


YES, Back to Water, Water Everywhere !  AND Nest Examples.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Spring Rains Often Spoil EGGs.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Another Reason EGGs are Spoiled.. COLD Spring Weather !
Snow and Freezing Temperatures when they Nest Early.
Swans Gather Nest Materials
Out in the Elements.. Many EGGs Freeze and Crack..  DISCARD These.
Swans Gather Nest Materials

When Cygnets Hatch in Cold Weather, they Need a Dry Nest
for their Dam to Keep them Warm.
Tiny Cygnets can NOT Thermo-Regulate..

Swans Gather Nest Materials
They Need the Warmth of the Adult Swans.


It is Wonderful when the Swans are Safe.

Swans Gather Nest Materials

With Your Planning and some Luck.. 

Swans Gather Nest Materials

This is the Goal of Nesting Swans..  Tiny Cygnets..
Swans Gather Nest Materials

Thanks for Allowing me to Ramble about Some of Our Swan Adventures. 

I am about Finished.

This Topic Page is Being Uploaded with Images we have Gathered
Over the Years we were OUT and About Visiting Swans.
THANKS to ALL who Shared their Swans with Us..
PA SwanLover Linda M. Sweger         February 2023


November 5th, 2022 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in DEADLY AVIAN INFLUENZA - (Comments Off on DEADLY AVIAN INFLUENZA is ON the WING.)

Here in Pennsylvania

If you suspect HPAI in your BackYard Flock ( Swans ), contact:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) emergency number:   ( 717 ) 772-2852
    • (press option 1 to reach the veterinarian on call)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) toll-free hotline at   1  ( 866 ) 536-7593


This is a Topic that I Hoped I would Never NEED to Post to SwanLovers.net

Click Images to Enlarge.

I am going to Post a Basic Summary here as of November 2022

InterChangeable Terms:
Avian Influenza – Bird Influenza – Avian Flu – Bird Flu.

Every Spring for the Past 12-15 Years, I have Scanned
the Internet for Articles Posted about Positive Avian Influenza Cases.
I made Note of which U.S. States had Positive Cases.

Outbreaks are all too Common in Other Countries..


Avian Influenza Outbreaks are Increasing around the World.
During the Opening Weeks of 2022, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
found a Total of 317 New Outbreaks in Poultry were Reported by 25 Countries and Territories:


Europe is having Large Outbreaks in Wild, Domestic Birds and their Poultry Industry.

European Countries are Culling many Millions of Birds trying to Control the Spread..

HPAI A(H5N1) is One of the most Contagious Viruses occurring among Birds.
Infected Wild Birds on their Migratory Route are the Main Way that these
Viruses are Spreads. Birds Shed Avian Influenza A Viruses
in their Saliva, Nasal Secretions, and Fecal Waste.

Hundreds of Species of Bird and Waterfowl Carry these Viruses.
There are Numerous Strains of Avian Influenza.. Appx. 144 are Possible.
Some are Mild.. but, the Deadly Strains are Just that.. Deadly.

More CDC Information if you Want to Read it..

Until this Year, it has been a Rarity for the Avian Influenza Virus to be Found
in the Northeastern United States.  Pennsylvania is in the Atlantic Flyway.

FLYWAYs 4 North American Migration Zone

No Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Viruses had been
detected in Pennsylvania since the 1983-84 Outbreak.

*************** This Warning was Issued in Early 2022.AVIAN INFLUENZA

In January 2022, the Virus was First Detected along the Atlantic Flyway in South Carolina.
As the 2022 Spring Bird Migration moved North Numerous States along the East Coast
Reported Positive Cases in Wild Birds and Several BackYard Flocks.

WildLife Organizations had to Turn Away Sick and Injured Birds Fearing their
Facilities would be Contaminated and Sicken or Kill the Birds Currently in their Care.

Avian Influenza

By March 25, 2022 Millions of Birds in at least 17 States were being Rapidly Killed
in a Determined Attempt to bring a Dangerous Strain of Avian Flu under Control.

As of April 15, 2022, Infected Birds in Commercial and Backyard Poultry Flocks
had been Confirmed in 27 States including most States surrounding Pennsylvania.

April 18, 2022 a Dead Bald Eagle found in Chester County, PA Tested Positive !
So it Began in our State of Pennsylvania.

PYS.ORG  https://phys.org/news/2022-12-million-birds-affected-outbreak-avian.html

The Wildlife Futures Program and
the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS),
Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine has ramped up its HPAI-related Diagnostics Work,
supporting agencies including the Pennsylvania Game Commission and
the U.S. Department of Agriculture in monitoring for the disease
.  .  . in both wild and domestic birds.

Even when there is not an Active Disease Outbreak,
PADLS regularly performs Avian Influenza Tests as part of Statewide
Surveillance Monitoring .
“We are available every weekday and are on call over the weekends.”

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
USDA Avian Influenza

In May 2022, USDA says Department of Agriculture Reports Bird Flu in 34 States.

This Year the Deadly Virus has been VERY Active in Pennsylvania.
Statewide, HPAI has Infected at least 17 Commercial Turkey and Chicken Farms
and at least One Backyard Flock, leading to the Culling of more than 4.2 Million Birds.”

Numerous Poultry Farms in Lancaster County PA were Quarantined for Months..

As of October 2022, 45 States had Positive Cases..
More then 44 Million Domestic-Commercial Poultry have been Depopulated
on Poultry Farms in Multiple States.

Resulting in the Price of Turkey, Chicken and Eggs to Increase.


CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Updates

Bird Flu Current Situation Summary


Realistically, Swan Lovers are Helpless to Prevent this..
Until an Effective Vaccine is Available..  This may be a Long Way Off.
I have been Reading about the Challenges of Developing Effective Vaccines
for the Poultry Industry.  What Additional Costs will this Mean ??

What Vaccine Dose is Effective ??
How Long does the Effective Immunity Last ??
How Often will Booster Vaccines be Needed ??
Will there Still be Mild Active Cases in the Birds ??
Will this Lead to Mutations and New Variant Strains of the Viruses ??
How do Farms Monitor Thousands of Birds ??
Will People be Willing to Consume Poultry that was Vaccinated ??

France is Working on this Research for the Poultry Industries.
Culling to Control the Avian Influenza Viruses is Not Working as Hoped.
Millions of Ducks, Geese, Turkeys are Destroyed during OutBreaks.

Having a Vaccine for our BackYard Poultry is not Realistic in 2022.


Since December of 2019 Covid-19 and its Variant Viruses have Spread
to ALL Parts of the World and has been Handled Differently by each Country.
If this has done Anything, it is to make Humanity AWARE of how Difficult
it is to Control and Avoid a Tiny Protein Fragment that we can not See.. ( SIGH )

We are now Living with the Covid Viruses.. it is Endemic – here to Stay.
These Avian Influenza Viruses are now also Endemic in North America.


To Protect our BackYard Poultry and Captive Pet Pond Swans –
The Standard Recommendation is:
To Put our Domestic Waterfowl INSIDE during Spring and Fall Migration Seasons..

Spring Migration Averages February through Early April.
Fall Migration Averages Late September through November.

Swans would be Sheltered Inside 5 to 6 Months of the Year.
Swans become Hormonal and Start Mating in January.
Swans NEED to be in 3 to 5 Feet of Water to Safely Mate..
NOT in a Kidde Pool. This would be Dangerous for the Pen.

Mute Swans are Nest Building in March..
They Continue Mating as BIG Eggs are being Laid in their Nest.

I Can NOT Imagine Confining our Swans this Way..


There are Lots of Informative Websites
to Read for the Location of Current Avian Influenza Outbreaks.

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The Current Policies of Individual States..
What to Do.. ??? Who to Call.. ???
when your Healthy Domestic Pets Die Suddenly with NO Warning.

Carefully Place your Pet/Bird in Double Plastic Bags.
Keep in a Cool Place.       Wash Well Afterwards.

Consult your States Department of Agriculture..AS SOON as Possible.


Here in Pennsylvania

A New Lines of Research by Penn Vet Researchers aims to understand
at the Genetic Level, the Reasons this Particular Virus is causing so much Harm.

If you suspect HPAI in your BackYard Flock ( Swans ), contact:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) emergency number:  ( 717 ) 772-2852
    • (press option 1 to reach the veterinarian on call)
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) toll-free hotline at   1  ( 866 ) 536-7593

For Questions Concerning your ** Domestic Poultry.

>>> IN PENNSYLVANIA – Reporting Requirements
If you Suspect your Domestic Poultry is Infected with Avian Influenza,
PLEASE Report your Concerns 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week
to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services
at ( 717 ) 772-2852, Option 1.

This Information Helps the State Know what Areas
or Counties need to be Watched or Warned..


Report Sick Domestic Birds or Unusual Deaths
to State/Federal Officials, either through your State Veterinarian
or through the U.S Department of Agriculture.  ( USDA )
>>> Contacted Toll-Free at 1 ( 866 ) 536-7593.

Diagnosis of Avian Influenza
www.cdc.gov/CDC – GOV?flu/avianflu/wildbirds.


>>> Report Sick or Dead Wild Birds to:
The Pennsylvania Game Commission at
1 ( 610 ) 926-3136 or pgc-wildlifehealth@pa.gov.

They will Provide the Current Information about what to do with these Birds.

Call and Someone may come for a Test Sample.
These Agencies have Trained Staff to Collect Samples.
DO NOT Take Dead Birds to Anyone..Unless Instructed.

Carefully Place the/these Dead Birds in Double Plastic Bags.
Keep in a Cool Place.       Wash Well Afterwards.


Poultry Owners should get a Premise Identification Number
from the State Department of Agriculture.
Applications can be Filled-out Online by Clicking on
the “Premises Registration Form” Link at www.agriculture.pa.gov

This will Allow the Dept of Agriculture to WARN you
if Avian Influenza is Found in your Area.

If you have had Contact with Sick or Dead Domestic or Wild Birds
and are Not Feeling Well, Contact your Primary Care Physician
or the PA Department of Health at 1 ( 877 ) 724-3258.

If Any of these Phone Number do not Work..
Check OnLine for a Number..

SUDDEN Death of Healthy Waterfowl/Poultry.
Seeing your Pets Die Suddenly is Shocking.

Clinical Signs of Avian Influenza.
The Incubation Period is Hours to Days, Depending on Age, Sex,
Species affected, Concurrent Infections and Pathogenicity of the Virus Strain.

Mortality is Rapid with the Virulent Strains.
“We have seen Cases where the Birds were Perfectly Fine,
and then TWO Hours Later, a Third of the Flock was Dead.”


Poultry: You will Observe Unusual Behavior, Nervous Disorder,
Depression, Sinusitis, Off Feed and Diarrhea may be seen.
Their Upper Respiratory System Fills-up with Fluid,
Notable Respiratory Distress, Coughing, Sneezing, Rales.

At their Endpoint, the Birds may Suffer Hemorrhagic Conditions.
You may see Spots of Blood around their Nares,
Bruising of the Face and Legs as they Succumb to the Disease.

The Presence of Clinical Disease alone is not Diagnostic.
There are other Viruses and Pathogenic Bacteria that are also Deadly.

Duck Viral Enteritis – DVE Spreads during Migration.
Duck Plague is a Worldwide Disease caused by Anatid alphaherpesvirus –
1 of the family Herpesviridae that causes Acute Disease with High Mortality
in flocks of Ducks, Geese, and Swans.



Avian Botulism – Anaerobic Clostrida Bacteria that Secretes Deadly Toxins
are commonly found in Sticky, Decaying, Organic Mud.

Avian Botulism causes Flaccid Paralysis.  Infected Birds often show Weakness,
Lethargy, Inability to Walk, Fly, or Hold their Heads up.
Paralysis can Lead to Drowning before Progressing to a more Advanced Disease State.
The Degree of Clinical Signs depends upon the Amount of Neurotoxin Ingested.

We Lost both of the Sweet Pens below to Avian Botulism soon after Nesting.
SWAN PENs A Botulism Deaths

There are Many Viruses and Bacteria that can Infect our Domestics.
With a Wide Range from Mild to Deadly Affects.
You will Only Know the Cause of the Death by having them TESTED !

Swabs of the Trachea or Oropharynx and Cloaca are used to Test
for Influenza Virus.

The Preferred Sample for Waterfowl is a Cloacal Swab.

How Long does Avian Influenza Last in the Environment?
Avian Influenza (AI) Viruses can Survive Outside a Host for Long Periods
depending on Temperature and Humidity of the Environment.
The Virus can LIVE for up to One Month Inside a Poultry House at 40 ºF.
Avian Influenza

Species Affected:
Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks, Pheasants, Ostriches, Peacocks, Sea Gulls,
Vultures, Crows, Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Quail, Geese, Swans, Etc.
>>> ANY Feathered Bird.

Avian Flu Symptoms for Birds – Sudden Death without any Physical Signs.
Lack of Energy, Coordination and Appetite.  Diarrhea.
Nasal Discharge, Swelling of the Head, Eyelids, and Hocks.
Purple Discoloration of the Wattles, Combs, and Legs.
Soft-Shelled or Misshapen Eggs.
Per the USDA – In October 2022
Currently if you have a Domestic Bird or Birds Test Positive…
they are NOT Requiring your Healthy BackYard Poultry to be Destroyed..


But, they will Ask you to Quarantine your Property for 10-14 Days.
No Movement of Poultry during that Time..

Requirements will be Different for Commercial Poultry Farms.

******* Various States along the East Coast are having Fall OutBreaks.

During the Summer and Early Fall of 2022, I have heard Too Many SAD Stories
of Captive Pet Swans Dying SUDDENLY – No Warning, NO Signs of Illness.
A few have been Tested.. Most Positive for Avian Influenza..

The Healthy Swans above Died within 36 Hours of Each Other.  SHOCKING.

Many of the Photo Images I have Included were Found Online.
I want to THANK All these Photographers.
We ALL Want to Alert Other of this Terrible Avian Virus.

Updated December  2022   by Linda M. Sweger

I HOPE ALL Your Swans & Pet Poultry will be OK.
It will be a Scary Time for ALL of Us during Migration Seasons…

Take Time to Enjoy your Swans Every Day..












April 9th, 2022 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in DO NOT PUT FOOD by a SWAN's NEST - (Comments Off on DO NOT PUT FOOD Near a SWAN’s NEST)

Nesting Swans
CLICK to Enlarge Images 


Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

I Must Warn Against Placing ANY Food by a Waterfowl – SWAN’s Nest.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

I Thought this would Not be a Large Topic Page..
Then as I Collected Notes and Learned about
” WHO EATs WHO ? “ This Page Grew..
Nesting Swans WHO Eats WHO

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.

Rob and I had the Opportunity to Visit with Several Feral-Wild
Mute Swans Living along our Local River System..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

We Visited these Swans and their Nest Areas Several Days a Week
over Several Years. It was a Magical Time.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Lots of Photos.. Lots of HeartBreak. Learned a LOT.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
We Learned Wild Swans will not “Nest” where they Live…
and they do not Live where they “Nest.”
Nesting Swans

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..
Nesting Swans

Before these Pens Start to “Sit,” while they are Laying their Clutch of Eggs..
they will be EATING.. Lots of Eating.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

She is Digging in Soft Mud for Insect Larva..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
But, Once the Pens are ON their EGGs “Incubating,” it is Close to Fasting Time.
Nesting Swans

As Ground Nesting Birds, Swans are VERY Vulnerable…
The Cob and/or Pen may be able to BEAT off a Predator..
but, they may Develop Fatal Infections if Bitten or Scratched..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

The Pens are the most Likely to be Killed while Nesting.
Many Pens will “SIT” on their Eggs as they are Being Attacked.

Swans and Most Waterfowl are Prey..
They become Food for Meat Eating Birds, Mammals, Reptiles..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..

Most Swan Nests are Near Water..
Dampness will Aid in the Breakdown of Foods..
Dampness is a Great Environment for Mosquitoes..
Which can Carry Viruses: West Nile, Viral Encephalitis, Zika Fever.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

We had a Tiny Cygnet that had Encephalitis..
It Damage Areas in her Brain.. She behaved more like a Lizard..
We had to make a Hard and Sad Decision for her.
Nesting Swans Mute Swan Cygnet Encephalitis

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus is a Mosquito-borne Alphavirus,
It Cycles between Mosquitoes and Birds in Freshwater Swampy Areas.

Your Cob will Still be Eating – Patrolling and Guarding.
Place his Feed Container Away from the Nest Area..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Keep ALL Feed/Food at Least 30-40 Feet from the Nest.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

A Pan of Clean (Change Daily) Cold Water on Hot Days
Placed several Feet from the Nest is often “Welcomed” by the Pens.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..
Nesting Swans

After 35 Days of Incubating her Developing Eggs..
the Cygnets will Start to Wiggle and Peep..
This Signals the Pen.. and her Hunger Returns.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.Nesting Swans Who Eats WhoTheir Cygnets are Wiggling and “Piping.”  WE Could Hear them ! 
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

The Clutch/Brood of Cygnets will Generally Hatch within 48 Hours..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
The Pen and Cob will Take their Healthy Cygnets to Areas
where there are LOTs of Insects.. A “Buggy Cafeteria..”
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

The Cygnets must go to the Water by their Third Day to Start EATING.
“BUGS are the GRUB” for their First 10 Days… LOTS and LOTS of Bugs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

This is Nature’s Plan..
Your Role is to Provide a GOOD Healthy Diet during the Winter Months..
so you Pen is Healthy going into her Nesting Weeks..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..

The Spoiled-Decomposing Food Droppings will be Replaced by
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

BACTERIA:  There are Thousands of Environmental Bacteria.
…..A Fair Number of these Cause Serious Diseases.
…..Staph and Coliform Infections are Common and a Challenge to Treat.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

MOLDs:  Old Food Sours, Smells and Rots..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..Environmental MOLDsNesting Swans Who Eats Who Mildew
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,
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

….. 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.Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Aspergilloisis******
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..BIRDs, TURTLEs, and many Species of INSECTs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..Over Time we got to See a Wide Variety of Mushrooms and Tree Fungus.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..SLUGs, SNAILs.  All these Tiny Creatures have Body Waste that Spread Diseases.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Tape Worm Life Cycle

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Round Worm Life Cycle
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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

AMOEBAE:  are Microscopic Free-Living in Fresh Water,
…..They are Commonly found in Pond Water, Ditches, and Lakes.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

SPIDERs:  Black Widow Spiders are Native to Pennsylvania
…..are generally found Outdoors.  Insects Attract SPIDERs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who*******We See these Spiders ALL the Time. 
They do have a Job Eating Insects.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
INSECTs:  There are MANY Insects that have a Larve-Maggot Stage.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

GRUBs and MITEs:  will Consume some Bacteria.


FLIEs Around a Swan Nest are a SIGN of Trouble.
…..Remove any Cracked, Spoiled or Foul Smelling Eggs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..FLIEs Carry Many Types of Diseases.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
FLIEs are a Common Insect Pest on the Average Farm.
…..Where there is Animal Waste in Fields and Pastures.. and Decaying Compost Piles.

…..A Female HOUSE FLY can lay up to 600 Eggs in her Short Lifetime.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..Most FLIEs Lives an Average of 15 to 25 Days.
….HORSE FLIEs are Common on Farms..


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.
Horse Fly Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

FOXEs, RACCOONs, POSSUMs, BIRDs all eat MAGGOTs when they get the chance.
ANTs.. Sting and Bite.. can Kill Tiny Cygnets..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Then there are BEEs, CARPENTER BEEs, HORNETs,
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..These Stinging Insect are Attracted to Sweet Food Waste.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Both WASPs and YELLOW JACKETs are Beneficial INSECTs in Nature.
…..They help Control the Populations of many other INSECTs and SPIDERs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

******* Any Pond or Lake Environment has a Complex Network of Creatures..  
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..and PURPLE MARTINs are Helpful – their Diet is Mostly INSECTs..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..will Attract.. MICE, VOLEs, MOLEs, SHREWs, CHIPMUNKs, RATs..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

….FROG and TOADs are Beneficial… They Eats LOTs of Insects..
Nesting Swans Who Eats WhoNesting Swans Who Eats Who
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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
Most Water Environments have WATER SNAKEs..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

And SNAPPING TURTLEs..  You will Need to Check Annually for these Harmful Turtles. 
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Snapping Turtle

SNAPPING TURTLEs:  ( Try to Remove Them.)
…..They will Hang Around Areas where there is Spilled Feed/Food.
…..Tiny Cygnets are an Easy Meal for SNAPPING TURTLEs.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Snapping Turtle

SNAKEs:  Common US Snakes
…..Depending on WHERE you Live..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who***************
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who…..Cygnets are taken Back and Forth to the Nest for Several Days.  
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..The Adult Swans will Check for any Danger before Bringing the Cygnets Back to the Nest. Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..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. Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
….CHIPMUNKs will all Attract SNAKEs to Live Near Water
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

These FURRY CREATUREs:  Will Attract OWLs, CROWs,
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

FURRY ANIMALs:  Commonly spread TICKs, VIRUSEs and PARASITEs.
….TICKs are Seeking WARM Blooded Animals or Birds to have a Blood Meal..

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
….TICKs can Carry Serious Diseases-Viruses > > Lymes Disease, West Nile, Babesiosis,
…..Powassan, Tularemia, Viral Encephalitis.

…..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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..These may Snatch Small Ducklings, Goslings and Cygnets.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
OPOSSUM – POSSUMs:  Eat a Large Number of TICKs..
…..Ranging from Fruits, Grasses, INSECTs, SLUGs, SNAILs, MICE,
…..RATs, MOLEs, FISH and even CARRION.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
…..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.

RACCOONs are the Common Swan Egg Thief..
…..They will Attack and Kill Swans.. Typically only Removing the Head.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

….Finding Broken Eggs near the Nest or in the Water Nearby is Disheartening.
Raccoon Nesting Swans Who Eats Who …..I Wonder what our Pen is thinking when she Sees a Raccoon Eating her Eggs. Raccoon Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

…..Personally, I Like having the Swans’ Feed in a Bucket
…..and Take this Food Inside at SunSet.Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

WEASELs: are Carnivores and will Eat almost All Animals they find.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
HAWKs and OWLs:  Sit up in Trees and Watch for Small Fuzzy Things to be LUNCH !
Nesting Swans Who Eats WhoHAWKs and OWLs:  Are Feeding their Young in the Spring.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
MINK:  Their Dens are usually near Water, they are mostly Carnivorous.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

MINK are Agile and Fierce Fighters, Killing Prey
…..with a Hard Bite to the Back of the Skull.

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

The BOBCATs is the most abundant Wildcat in North America.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Bobcat
…..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.

…..Predators of the BOBCAT include MOUNTAIN LIONs,
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Mountain Lion

Depending on your Location BEARs.
…..Swan Can Not Defend themselves from a Bear Attack.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

BEARs can Smell Foods from Long Distances.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.

EGGs are Great Nutrition for the Female Raccoon with Spring Kits..
Raccoons can be Nasty.. Fighting for the Eggs..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

For Help with the Larger Predators .. FOXEs, RACCOONs, COYOTEs, etc.
You might get Help by Contacting:
WildLife Control Services or Your State’s Trapping Association.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who


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..

WATER.. is OK.. This will Help the Pen Flush her Gizzard..
Hopefully Reduce the Infections that might Develop in their Gizzards.Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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.

The Cygnets will only Weigh about 8-10 Ounces when they Hatch…
they may be Prefect Meals for Snakes Living Close to the Nest.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Even with the Nesting Platform.. Once there are EGGs..
STOP Placing ANY Food on the Platform.

The Swan Pen will need to Leave the Nest if she Needs to Poop..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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..

Nesting Swans Who Eats Who


Nesting Swans Who Eats Who Blow Flies

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.
BLOWFLY LIFECYCLE Nesting Swans   Who Eats Who

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.


FLYS-X is a Natural Organic Spray – Repellent.  
…..Take Care to Avoid Spraying on the Swans..
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who


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.


…..IS an Organic Crawling Insect Killer.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

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:

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.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who
Organized APRIL 2022 …. PA Swan Lover Linda M.Sweger
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who

Swans do not have an Easy Time While Nesting.
Nesting Swans Who Eats Who




March 14th, 2022 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in SPOILING Swan EGGs - Prevent Cygnets - (Comments Off on IF YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR SWANs to have CYGNETS.)

Spoiling their EGGs is a Reasonable Solution.


Click Images to Enlarge.

Each Fall and Winter Veterinarians and Wildlife Rehabilitaters in many States
may have Multiple Calls about Young Mute Swans found in Distress.


Some Young Swans are Found by the General Public..
Maybe in their Yards. Maybe along the Road. Maybe on their Ponds.

The Young Swan Below was on the Property Owner’s Pond when she came Home from Work.

I get Several Calls every Year from Folks who are Excited they have a Lone Surprise Swan.
Now they want to Find a Companion/Mate for this Swan.  They have NO Idea of the Age or Sex.

I Explain what Needs to be Done.
Feed-Gain Trust, Catch the Swan, Clip One Wing and Send a DNA Sample to Learn the Sex.
So Far, Few Free Flying Rogue Swans has been Caught or Stayed with them.
Some Swan will Come and Go, Gone for a While, Returning at Random..

These 7-8-9 Month Old Rescued Cygnets Below were Likely Chased Away by their Parents,
when the Adults were Getting Ready for their Spring Nesting Season.


These Growing UnPinioned Cygnets have Nowhere to Go.
They are Chased into the Larger World Totally Unprepared.
No Idea how to Care of themselves.


Young Cygnets are very Vulnerable to Predators and Dog Attaches when Feral..

When Rescued.. Many are Injured, have Wounds and Broken Bones.
Sadly, many will be Euthanized..  This was the Fate of the Young Swan Below.
Evaluated at an Animal Clinic..  Advanced Infection, Wounds Full of Maggots.
Unknown Blood Loss, Badly Mangled Foot.. Euthanized to End Suffering.

Many Rescued Swans are UnderWeight..
During Fall and Winter there are Few Natural Foods for them to Eat, if they can Find any.

The Cygnet below was Very Scared when Brought to a Rescuer’s Home..

As I have been Reading various Article about Department Natural Resources
WildLife Services ( Different States ) Mute Swan Management Methods.
I have come across a Number of Very Disturbing, Cruel Practices.

It is Far Worse to Allow a Cygnet or Swan to Fly Away to be Abused and Destroyed.
Slaughtering these Helpless Swans can not be much Enjoyment for the WildLife Services
who are Trained and Employed to Protect WildLife.


My Opinion:
I Feel it would be MUCH more Ethical to Prevent Cygnets Hatching
then to have them Endure the Perils of being Feral and the Potential End
of their Lives by the WildLife Agencies various Cruel Slaughtering Practices.

Having Cygnets every Year can be Demanding – They are Cute and Work.
They NEED to be Pinioned.. DNA-Sex Determined..
and New Adoptive Homes Arrange between 4-9 Months Old.

It MAY be Tempting to just let the Cygnets be Chased off..
Out of Sight…Out of Mind.. Now Someone Else’s Problem.


Being a Responsible Swan Keeper.. YOU will Not Let this Happen.

Or Maybe you just want to “Take a Year OFF..”
Prevent Cygnets Hatching in Years that other Things in your Life have Priority.
And just Enjoy your Graceful Adult Swans on a Peaceful Summer Pond.


OR Maybe your Pond is Really NOT Suitable for a Large Brood of Eating-Pooping Cygnets.
Maybe Limit the Number of Cygnets that Hatch.

The 0.48 Acre Retention Pond Above & Below became FOULED with Swan Cygnet Poop.

Neutering or Spaying is NOT an Option with Swans..

DO NOT Spay or Neuter Swans


I did some Reading about Hormone Implants for Birds.
This is Expensive, May Not be Effective, Needs to be Repeated Frequently.
The Article Below was Informative.

Hormone Implants for Avian Species. … ARE NOT Practical.


Removal of All the Eggs or Breaking the Eggs will cause the Pen
to Lay a Second Clutch of Eggs.

This will Deplete her Body more then Necessary… and Extend the Nesting Season.

Having to lay Extra Eggs may/will Deplete the Pen of the Nutrients
to Regrow Healthy Feathers after her Annual Moulting.

The Swans Above and Below Lost their Early Spring Nests to the Creek Flooding Twice.

We could only Guess… she may have Laid around 20 Eggs that Year.
Nest #1  > 8 Eggs – Nest  #2  >  7 Eggs – Nest  #3  >  5 Eggs.   ca. 15 were Lost to Flooding.

They ReCycled..  the Pen Laid 5 more Eggs ( Third Clutch ) Nesting into Mid-July.
One Egg Cracked and I Removed it.  ??? Maybe the Shell was Thinner.
SPOILING SWAN EGGsOne Egg was Stolen by a Raccoon.. Then there were just Three Eggs.

We were Helpless to do Anything since these Swans were Living Feral..
After a Very Long Nesting Season, Three Tiny Cygnets Hatched on July 14-15th.

In 2022, We Still have the Pale Brown Cygnet on the Left.. He is our “Meadow.”


During the Late Winter and Very Early Spring Months,
Roughly THREE Weeks before a Mute Pen begins to Lay her Eggs..
Preparing her Bodies to Lay a Clutch of BIG Eggs. ( Average 4-8 )

Natural Egg Production is Stressful for Female Birds/Swans.
It Depletes their Nutritional Stores, and Predisposes them to Malnutrition,
Osteoporosis, and Life Threatening Illnesses.
They Benefit from a Proper Diet during the Winter Months.

It is a BAD Idea to Catch or Disrupt your Pen’s Egg Laying Process.
Catching your Pen during the Days that she is Laying her Eggs
may STOP an Egg from Moving through her
Uterus > Shell Gland > Vagina > Cloaca and being Expelled into her Nest.

Risking the Pen becoming EGG BOUND with all the Risks
and Serious Complications an Egg being Stuck
in the Pen’s Uterus-Shell Gland may Cause.

BEST to WAIT and Allow your Pen to Naturally Lay her Full Clutch of Eggs,
Allow her to “Sitting” to Incubate her Clutch for at Least 7-10 Days
before you do ANYTHING with your Pen during her Nesting Sequence.

You WANT to be sure she is Finished Laying Eggs.

Black Australian Swans Nest Twice a Year..
It can be Challenging to Raise these Cygnets during the Winter Months.
These Last Season Cygnets will Need to be Shelter-Raised in Cold Regions.

Maybe you Want to have just One Brood during the Warmer Months.


Here I will State: I have No Experience with Spoiling Swan Eggs.
I have not “Actively” Spoiled any Swan Eggs with Plain Corn Oil..
So my Information is NOT Hands-On.. Just from Reading.

I have Talked with a Number of Folks who have Used Spoiling Methods
to Control other Types of Waterfowl.. Example Muscovy Eggs.


We have used Replacement Eggs most Years… Successfully.
At First Real Mute Swan Eggs, Drained, Cleaned and Filled.
But without a Doubt the Wooden Reusable Eggs have Worked Well.



We can use them to “Swap-Out” the Real Eggs to Prevent Cygnets Hatching.
OR they are Ready if Eggs are being Stolen from a Fertile Swan Nest.
OR if there are Eggs that are Not Developing and Start to STINK ! !

I Know there is a Need for this Information about Spoiling to be Available.
I am going to RELY on Reading a Number of Articles and Compile General Information.
I Suggest you ALSO Read a Variety of Articles.
If the Articles seem to make Sense.. Gathering Information is Best.

I did Call our State’s Waterfowl Specialist and Ask for Information..
I am Including this in the Text Below.


I hear People Troubling with the Ethics of Killing the Embryos..
They want to Remove or Oil the Eggs VERY Soon after they are Laid.
Before there is much Development..


I have Searched without Success for a SWAN Embryo Development Chart.
Chicken Chicks Hatch in 20 Days..  Swan Cygnets Hatch at 37 Days.
Each Stage on this Chart would be Almost 2 Days for the Developmental Stages of a Cygnet.
AT 7-10 Days of Incubation the Cygnet Embryos would be at 4 to 5 Days on this Chart.
It is Up to You.. when you Decide to Spoil the Eggs..   7th Day or the 25th Day..etc.


BUT, I do think it is Wise to Wait until the Pen is “Sitting” Full-Time for at least a Week..
JUST to be Sure her Clutch is Finished !


True Story: One Swan Keeper saw his Pen “Sitting” on Four Eggs.
He “Swapped-Out” Two Real Eggs for Two Replacement Eggs he made.
Goal to Allow just Two Cygnets to Hatch.. Manageable for their Enjoyment.
SURPRISE > > > SIX Tiny Cygnets Hatched.. Explanation.
Four more Fertile Eggs were Laid after the “Swap-Out.”


COMMONLY USED METHODS for Spoiling or Reducing:

ADDLING – Addling is a Wildlife Management Method of Population Control
of Various Bird Species that are Increasing in Numbers.
Eggs are Temporarily Removed from the Nest, the Embryo Development is Terminated
and the Eggs are Returned to the Nest.

Methods that Terminates Embryo Development are by Oiling, Shaking
or Puncturing the Eggs and then placing the Eggs Back in the Nest.

It is Important Not to Change the Odor, Appearance or Texture of the Eggs.

This Allows the Nesting Female to Continue her Nesting Process..

By Disrupting the Yolks from Developing there will be No Cygnets.
AS I was Reading, One Person Leaves the Parent Swans One ”Good Egg” to Care for.
Personally, a Cygnet Raised Alone is a Little Sad..  Maybe Leave them Two Fertile Eggs.


AS I Searched for Information,
I came Across the Same Field Study Article Several Times.

“Spraying Corn Oil on Mute Swan Cygnus olor Eggs to Prevent Hatching.”
1996-1997 Larry J. Hindman, William F. Harvey, IV, & Linda E. Conley

Corn Oil is an Effective, Nontoxic Method of Reducing Mute Swan Eggs Hatching.
Spraying an Oil/Oil Flour Product on the Eggs will Cut Off the Oxygen Exchange
through the Tiny Pores in the Shell.  This will Stop the Embryos Developing.

My Best Guess is that Eggs Coated with Plain Corn/Vegetable Oil
should Not be Soaked and Slimy..  The Oil can be Sprayed or Rubbed on with a Rag.
Be Sure to Coat the Entire Surface of the Egg.

It Occurred to me that this Oil might Interfere with the Pen’s WaterProofing.
She would be Sitting on the Eggs and get the Corn Oil on her Abdomen Feathers
and then Preen the Oil ALL OVER.  Hummm !
*** I am Going to see if I can Learn More.

These Oil Spoiled EGGs will Start to Rot and Stink by the End of 42 Days.

EGG SHAKING: This Method of Waterfowl Population Control has been the Standard.
Used for Decades by Fish and Wildlife Services
and has the General Approval of the Atlantic Flyway Council.

Eggs are Vulnerable to Vibration Type Injuries Early in Incubation.
Shaking or Jarring can Kill the Developing Embryo either Directly
or by Rupturing the Yolk.

The Yolk of an Egg is Suspended between two opposing Filaments of Protein
called the Chalazae.  Shaking can Dislodge the Chalazae.


Brisk Vigorously Shaking beyond the Point of Breaking the Chalazae,
will Start to Break-Up the Yolk and No Embryo will Develop.

These Spoiled Eggs will Start to Rot.. ( PPPe-UUU )

There “Might” be a Small Percentage that Survive Shaking.

June 2022… I am ADDING this Personal Note:
Last Weekend I was Preparing a Casserole that Calls for 6 Eggs..
I Thought I would SHAKE these Raw Eggs and See if they would be Scrambled
when I Cracked them into my Recipe..  I SHOOK and SHOOK.. Very Hard.
I Could Hear the Liquid Inside each EGG Rattling as I SHOOK….
I Shook Harder and Longer with Each Egg.. NOT ONE had a Broken Yolk.
ALL 6 Eggs were in Perfect Condition when I Cracked them.
PERSONALLY >>> I would not Try this Method..

SPOILING SWAN EGGs The Cygnet Above was a BIG SURPRISE..   ( A Happy Surprise ! )
It was Day 42… We are there to Take All the Eggs Away ! !

CULLING: The Word seems to have Various Meanings..
Here I am Using Culling.. as Reducing the Number of Eggs.

If a Swan has a Clutch of 8 Eggs.. Up to 5 Might be Removed
to Reduce the Number of Cygnets that will Hatch..

Removing Some or All of a Clutch.. ( REPLACE Some with Replacement Eggs.)
Leave the Pen at Least 3 Eggs to “Sit.” Spoiled or Fake or Fertile.

If you Remove Several Eggs from the Clutch.. Put them in a Container
to keep them Safe and Refrigerated.. You might Need them for Replacements.
PUNCTURING:  I Tried Several Key Word Searches.. and I could not
Find much about Puncturing Eggs to Prevent Hatching.
I would think this Method would NOT be a Foremost Method.

Piercing with a Thin Hat Pin and Stirring the Content.. Breaks the Yolk.

From a United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service WebSite:

Puncturing—To Puncture the Egg, hold it securely in your hand, Braced against the Ground.
Insert a Long, Thin Metal Probe into the Pointed End of the Egg.
Best Results are by placing Slow Steady Pressure.  ( If the Egg Breaks-Cracks, Remove it. )
Once the Probe Passes Through the Shell, Place the Tip against the Inside of the Shell,
and Swirl with a Circular Motion.  Swirl Several Times to Ensure the York is Broken.

Puncturing the Shell would Introduce Bacteria and Dirt.
One of the Most Common Causes of In-Shell Deaths for Forming Embryos
is a Bacterial or Viral Infection Entering through a Crack in an EGG.

As the Pen Turns her Clutch Several Time a Day, I would Expect the Albumin
to Start to Leak from the Eggs.  That would Attract Insects.. and be a Sticky Mess.
As the Egg Contents Degrades the Leaking would Increase.

If you Spoil your Pen’s EGGS…
DO NOT Allow her to “Over-SIT” Incubating Eggs that will Never Hatch.
She Needs to be Able to Start Eating..
Remove the “Eggs” from the Nest at 42 Days.

Another Plan to Consider:
Contact a Swan Breeder who might Want the Fertilized Swan Eggs.
Talk with them about when to Remove Some of the Fertile Eggs Under your Pen.
Only Remove a Few of the Clutch…
Leave the Pen some Eggs to “Sit-On”.. Or “Swap-Out” with Replacements.

IF you PLAN AHEAD :  Arrange for Another Person to Raise your Cygnets.

Before the Cygnets Hatch.. See if you can Arrange for Another Person
to Raise the Cygnets.  Be Sure they have a Proper Environment to do this.
A Protected Pond and a Shelter for Night Time Safety.
Decide Who will Pinioned the Cygnets before 21 Days Old.
Hand Raised Cygnets have a Better Survival Rate then Cygnets Raised
by their Parent Out on an Average Pond.


All Ten of the Cygnets Above – in 2022 are Mature Swans in Homes that Love them.

I like the Replacement Eggs the Best.. Zoos use them.
The Real Unfertile or Spoiled Eggs will Start to Rot..
They Smell Terrible, Attract Flies and Some Explode.. Stink BOMBs – BIG Mess !

AND with the Sneaky Raccoons Stealing so many Eggs..
It is SO Helpful to have the Replacement Eggs.. Real Eggs Refrigerated or Wooden Fakes.
043018L YKCo WV Brooke Nesting (5CBD4 600)9DFTXT

We have been using the Wooden Replacement Eggs for 5-6 Years..
They have been so much LESS Worry…  Ready when Needed..
And our Pens have Accepted them without any Problems.
( All but One Egg. )
I Never Figured-Out Why this One Egg was Rejected Repeatedly.

I Must Decline ANY Request to Make Replacement Eggs for you Folks.
I would have to make Hundreds for All the People who have Asked.. (-;


SPOILING the EGGs in a Swans’ Nest.
This is a Helpful Procedure if you Do NOT want to have Swan Cygnets every Year.

I have Found the BEST Items to use to Protect Myself Working by a Swan Nest..
is a Folding Lawn Chair.. I Turn it Around as a Barrier-Shield.


Female Swans MUST “Sit” on their Unfertile-Spoiled Eggs for at least 42 Days.
OR They Will ReCycle and Lay more Eggs.. With or Without a Cob.
They have NO Control over this Timing.. Mother Nature is in Charge..

Normally Fertile Swan Eggs will Mature in 37 Days.. – /+ a Day.

Healthy Cygnets will All Hatch within 24-36 Hours.. 48 Hours at most.
The Pen will usually continue to “Sit” as much as Possible on UnHatched Eggs for 72 Hours..

Then She will take her Healthy Cygnets out to Begin Feeding
and Spend more and more Time away from the Nest.

The Dam ( Pen ) and Cygnets may Return to the Nest for Several Day..
for the Cygnets to take Naps. (Very Cute).  And Warm-Up Under their Dam.

Female Swans will Lay One Large Egg every other Day until ALL her Clutch is in the Nest.
She will NOT “Sit” Full Time until ALL her Eggs are Laid.
This may take 2 – 3 Weeks, if she Lays 7 – 8 – 9 Eggs.

During this Time.. the Cob and the Pen will Keep a Close Watch over their Eggs..
Especially if Someone Approaches..One or Both will QUICKLY Head to their Nest..
They may Cover the Eggs at Times.  Making it Tricky to Count the Eggs.
You might see the Cob Sitting for Long Periods on the Eggs…
The Female Only a Few Minutes.. Just to Guard and Protect her Eggs from Visitors.

The Cob can not Incubate..
He can Only Protect and Keep the Eggs Warm Once Incubation Begins..

ONCE the Pen STARTs to “SIT” Full-Time.. NOTE this DATE ! !
Incubation of the Entire Clutch will begin. THE 37-42 Days Starts.
37 Days for Fertile Eggs to Hatch..
This way ALL Fertile Eggs should Hatch within a 24-48 Hour Period.
42 Days to Remove UnHatched-Spoiled Eggs.

WAIT for a Few Days, after you KNOW the Pen is “Sitting” Full-Time.
You want to be SURE she is Finished Laying. ( 7-10 Days )

It is VERY Helpful to have Several People to Do these Projects.
Keep CALM and TRY NOT to be LOUD.. Quiet is Less Stressful.
Make Your Plan and Who will do What !! Practice – Be Prepared.
Do a Basic Practice Walk Through..