A site dedicated to the proper care and general information of mute swans

How to Tell if your Cygnets and Swans are Pinioned

April 15th, 2020 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in PINIONED or FULL Wing - (Comments Off on How to Tell if your Cygnets and Swans are Pinioned)
Full Wing Swan

I Frequently Speak with Swan Owners who are not Sure if their Swans are
Pinioned. Which means the Swans are Grounded – Flightless.

If you have Acquired a Cygnet or Swan from a Rescue Group, it is VERY
Common for the Rescued Swans to be FULL-Winged. Able to Fly !!!

It is Sad to hear the Anguish of these Folks, who are Excited to have a Swan that Suddenly Flies Away.. I have heard this Story Too Many Times.

I WISH the Rescue Groups would Share this Information with People New to Swan Care..
When these Cygnets and Swans Fly Away, they are out in Feral Conditions AGAIN.. And in Peril.
These Swans were Lucky to be Rescued the First Time. A Second Rescue … Poor Odds..

Pinioned Mute Swan

This Topic Page will Mainly be Images for you to Study and Learn what to
Look for.. Basically ONE Wing Missing the Primary Flight Feathers.

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

It does Help if you Watch for your Swans to Stretch and Flap.
This is Usually Part of the Preening and Bathing Activity.. FLAPPING.

Flapping will Allow ALL the Wing Feathers to Shake Out and Lay in Order.

View the Images and then Watch your Swan to see if you can Tell if they are

When a Swan is Properly Pinioned Part of One Wing is Removed.
Comparing the Swan’s Wing to a Human Hand and Arm.

Lets Start with the Basic Wing Anatomy – the Beautiful Feathers.

BEST Time to Pinion a Swan is before they are Two to Three Weeks Old.

I Love the Beautiful Colors of a Royal Mute Cygnet’s Plumage !

Now Look at the Wings from Behind and See what is Different..

The Swan Below is Pinioned. She is Grounded – Unable to Fly.
There are a Few Primary Flight Feathers on her Right Wing.

There are Lots of Poses and Times when it is Impossible to Tell…

A Moment of Just Plain Cuteness – Nap Time

These Swans are Both Pinioned – One the Right Wing – One the Left Wing.

It does Help when the Swans Hold their Wings Up in Display.

Look Close – Do You SEE the Difference ???

I hope these Examples will Help you SEE
What is Missing or Not Missing. Pinioned or Full-Wing.

To Keep a Full-Wing Cygnet or Swan Grounded and Safer from the Perils
of Flying.. PLEASE Consider Annual Clipping.

Clipping Captive Swan Pets


There was a Sad End for the Beautiful Female Swan that is the Full-Wing Title Picture on this Topic Page..
We were Never Able to Get Hold of her to Clip..
“Sweet Harmony” was a Feral Mute Swan. She lived most of her Life on our Local River System. We shared many Hours with her.
She is the Dam of our “Meadow.”

She Flew to an Area where Hunting was Allowed. A Public WaterWay.
“Sweet Harmony” was Shot on a Fall Day during Hunting Season.
The Hunter was Bragging about Shooting her, while he ate Dinner at a Nearby Restaurant. We were Heart Broken.. and Learned this Lesson.

If your Cygnets or Swans are Full-Wing they are Not Safe.

Images Collected April 2020 (C) Linda M. Sweger