A site dedicated to sharing general care of mute swans
Header

Practical Banding Idea for Cygnets and Swans

July 10th, 2021 | Posted by LadyNerkle1 in ID Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

A Mute Swan Family may have Six to Nine Cygnets.. HOW Do they Tell them Apart ? ?
HOW Will You Tell them Apart ? ?

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

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I Started to Organize this Topic in 2015.. Well, it has been Somewhat Frustrating..
How to ID the Cygnets and Swans in a Practical and Safe Way.

This Seems Like it would be a Simple Straight Forward Subject.

I have Swapped Ideas with Other Swan Folks..
Searched the Internet for Ideas and Supplies..
and I keep Coming Back to the Simplest Banding with Colored Cable Ties.

But… When Banding Cygnets and Adult Swans
There are Variable to Consider..

EVERYONE Worries that a Leg Band will Get Caught on Something..
You Need to Weigh the Benefit against this Concern.
If a Band is a Problem Remove it.

For Adult Swans: A Simple Colored Leg Band MAY SAVE their Life.
If a Captive Pet Swan Wanders OFF your Private Property..
You might need to Identify the Swan as your Pet..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

In Many States: Feral Swans are Removed from Public Lands and WaterWays.
The Feral Female Mute Below was Shot to Death in November 2009.
She was Full-Wing.. had been on our Local River System for Two Years.
The Public would take Photos of her and Post them to Social Media.
A Hunter from Maryland Traveled to Pennsylvania to Shoot her.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If a Hunter or WildLife Agent Sees a Band on a Wandering Swan..
They may Re-framed from Shooting your Swan..

If you Only have One Cygnet..
A Band might not be Needed until they are 4-5 Months Old.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I will Share ONE Example that Surprised me.. ( Still Learning )
We had Two 9 Day Old Rescued Cygnets..
Rejected by their Dam – they would be Hand Raised.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Early on, I thought with Just TWO Cygnets.. I could keep them Straight.
I had Pinioned One on the Left Wing – the Other on the Right Wing.
Since we were Hand Raising these Tiny Rescued Cygnets
I Sent the Wing Tips for DNA-Sex Determinations.

On the Sample Submission Form I ID them as the Smaller Royal Mute Cygnet.
and the Larger Royal Mute Cygnet.

Within 2 Weeks, their Size Reversed..
When the DNA Report came Back.. Both FEMALE.
I was Relieved.. there would NOT be ANY Sex Mix-Up.
Plus I had Pinioned on Opposite Sides – Making a Note of that.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If the Resulted has been One – Female / One – Male..
AND I had Pinioned Both on the Same Side..
AND I had been Depending on their Size to keep these Two Cygnets Straight..
I would be Unsure Which was Which..

SWANs and their Cygnets – Color Cable Ties for ID Bands

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Most Hardware Stores have a WIDE Variety of Cable Ties.. Multi-Color.. Assorted Sizes.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

ID Banding can be Very Helpful with Growing Cygnets..
They GROW So Fast.. Changing their Physical Appearance with Each Passing Week.
Their Plumage will be Changing.. and by Next Summer they will be All White..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I know a Few Time that Cygnet Leg Bands came OFF..
and a Few of these Cygnets Needed to have their DNA ReChecked.

ID of a Brood of Cygnets is a Challenge.. The Cygnets Should be Pinioned by 21 Days.
Consider Doing the Smaller Cygnets on the Right Wing..
Then Pinion the Larger Cygnets on the Left Wing..
Basically, Pinion Half on Left – Half on Right.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If Cygnets are being Hand Raised..
then Putting a Band on while they are GROWING.. is Less of a Problem.
Here, we have Submitted the Wing Tips for DNA.. They are Too Young for True Feathers.

ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

Determine the Sex of Swans-Cygnets by DNA
https://swanlovers.net/category/determine-the-sex-of-swans-cygnets-by-dna/

Hand Raised Cygnets are NOT out on a Large Body of Water..
More Cygnets will Survive when Protected during the Day and Sheltered at Night..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If your Swans Hatch 8 Cygnets and they are Living out on the Lake with their Parents,
there is a Good Chance that Several will NOT Survive the Perils of Summer.
Common Perils: Snapping Turtles, Hawks, Owls.. Great Blue Herons..
Large Mouth Bass.. Cats, Fox.. etc. Life is Hard for Swans.

ID Leg Banding for Swans
Snapping Turtle

The Polish Mute Swan Family Below Started with Six Cygnets.
The Creamy White Polish Cygnets are more Easily Seen by Predators.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

During their First Six Weeks.. Three did not Survive..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

It is Realistic to Wait until the Cygnets are 12-14 Weeks Old to Gather them UP..
Collect True Feathers from their Chest to Submit for DNA-Sex Determinations..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Their Legs are Well Developed by this Time..
Place Assorted Color Cable Ties on the Leg that Matches
their Pinioned Wings. Keep an Eye on these..

We use Colored Cable Ties on Cygnets when doing DNA-Checks..
Most will stay on for 12-18 Months.. Some DO Break-down and Fall Off.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Adjust to Minimize Catching on Things.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I try to Balance “NOT TOO TIGHT” with “NOT TOO LOOSE.”
I Slide my Little Finger into the Band as I Snug it Up.
If I Pull it TOO Tight – I Start Again.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Take Care to Adjust ANY Leg Band So it will NOT Slide UP the Leg over the Ankle Joint..
The Joint Next to the Feathers… is the Ankle Joint.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Be Sure to Collect Any Strips of Cable Tie that is Trimmed.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Ankle Joint of Birds – Swans is Visible.. NOT their Knees.

ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

Adjust to STAY on the Long Visible Part of the Leg.. So there is NO Pressure on any Leg Skin.
Their Legs are NOT Round.. more Almond Shaped..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Keep a Watch for Bands to LOOK Snug – Especially with Cygnets.
OR if the LEG Swells for ANY Reason.
There are Nutritional Problems that Might Cause a Leg to Swell.
An Injury Might Cause a Leg to Swell.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

When the Bands get Above the Ankle Joint the Tiny Feathers may Hide the Band.
We have Come Across Cygnets Limping Badly. Checked their Leg…
The Band was not Visible and Way TOO Tight.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If a Band LOOKs TOO Tight.. > > CHANGE IT !

Swans and Cygnets have VERY Thin Leg Skin..
You do not want there to be any Pressure on the Skin..
( A Story of Tight Banding is Below.)

PROTECT > > YOUR LEGS and LAP – Wear OLD Shoes
CYGNETs WILL POOP FREELY.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Watch their Toe Claws .. They are Able to Scratch.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If the Cygnet or Swan is WIGGLING.. Wait ! ! to Use the Scissors Until they are Still.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

IF you Need to Cut a Band OFF to Change it..
Put a Thick Piece of Paper Under the Band.. so the Scissors does not Press on the Thin Leg Skin.
One Suggestion is to Use a Pet Toe Nail Clipper to Snip the Cable Tie.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

By Four Months Old.. most Cygnet Legs are Close to Mature Size..
If you are Placing the Bands-Cable Ties at 16+ Weeks..
You might not Need to Change them again..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Their Legs are Close to Full Grown- Size Wise..
The Leg Bones are Still Fragile. Handle as Gently as Possible.. Lower to Ground Gently..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Once these NEW Objects are On the Swans and Cygnets,
You may Notice them Nibbling at them for a Little While.
That will Stop once they have a Chance to Adjust..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Cygnets Above were Splashing in their Feed Tray.. Messy Babies.

Try an OnLine Search for Colored Cable Ties.

These Cable Ties with Tiny Metal Charms are SO CUTE ! ! !
If a Band would Look Worn or Might Come Off.. CHANGE the Band.
You do not Want any Tiny Metal Charm to be Swallowed..

ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

Packs of Chicken Charms are Easily Found OnLine.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

( A GOOD Practice with Swan ) is to have a Fenced Area
Where the Swans and Cygnets get Treats Several Times a Week… BIG HELP !!

SWAN CATCHING IDEAs
https://swanlovers.net/category/swan-catching-ideas/

We have Used the Catch Fencing.. It is STRESS-LESS
for both the Swans and CareTakers.. Swans Love Treats..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Several Time a Week the Cygnets are Given Treats in the Catch Fence.
Close this Area a Night.. So NO Swans get Trapped InSide.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

*********************************************

IF you have or are Planning to Acquire TRUMPETER SWANs,
Trumpeter Swans should be Purchased from a Captive Registered Breeder.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Wild Free Flying Trumpeter Swans MAY NOT be Removed from the Wild.

The Wing Tag on the Trumpeter Below is for Migration Research.
This Young Male Flew into our Area.. He had a WebSite to Report Sightings.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Trumpeter Swan are Federally Protected and Need to be Registered with the:
The United States Department of Interior.

United States Department of Interior  (413) 253-8643
      Fish & Wildlife Service
      P.O.Box  779    Hadley, MA  (Mass)  01035-0779
It is More and More Difficult to Speak with a Person at this U.S Dept.

You may be Able to Get Registered – Numbered – Metal Leg Band for Trumpeters.
Check with the Trumpeter Swan Society for the Proper Process.

The Trumpeter Swan Society – (763) 694-7851
12615 County Road 9 Plymouth, MN 55441
ttss@trumpeterswansociety.org – www.trumpeterswansociety.org
Ask the TTSS Folks for Assistance if the Breeder is NOT Helpful.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Trumpeter Swans are Native to Canada and the Americas.
There are Migrating Populations of the Trumpeter Swans in the West.
There are Very Few along the East Coast.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

**********************************************

A Story of What can Happen when Leg Bands GET TOO TIGHT !

A Large Lake, 55 Acres of Mountain Enchantment.
A Community of mostly Senior Citizens.
One Spring, Five Tiny Cygnets Hatched..
The Swan Caretaker-Helpers Gathered, Pinioned and Banded them.

Spring and Summer Days Passed.
The Rapidly Growing Cygnets were on the Lake at Large.

Various Event Occurred and the Cygnets could not be Caught to Change their Bands.
Late Fall, as Ice was Forming.. the Cygnets were Finally Collected.
Two of the Seven Month Old Cygnets had Severely Constricted Legs.

These Two Cygnets could not Walk. A Veterinary Visit – Evaluation..
It was Questionable if these Legs would Ever Function Properly.

A Swan’s Legs and Feet are VERY Important to their Survival
OutSide in their Environment.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Three Cygnets that were OK were Adopted to New Homes.
The Two Cygnets with Non-Functioning Legs were Placed in a Shelter for the Winter.
Look how Beautiful and Healthy they Look..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

With Months for these Constricted Legs to Heal, Nerves, Blood Vessel, etc..
these Big Messy to Care for Cygnets were Standing, Slowly Improving.
They had a Chance.. NOT Easy for All.. Cygnets or Caretaker.

I Can Not Imagine the Pain the Cygnets Suffered
while the TIGHT Bands were Strangling their Legs.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
For Captive Pet SWANs – Color Cable Ties for ID Bands
Banding Information Organized by Linda M. Sweger JULY 2021
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Below is General Information about Various Banding you might See on Wild Swans.
And in Some Areas Bands on Feral Mute Swans.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Why do the Swans have Huge Yellow Numbered Tags
on their Wings in Southern Ontario ?
https://naturalcrooks.com/rambles/why-swans-yellow-number-wing-tags-ontario/

“Wild” Released Trumpeter Swans found in PA with Yellow Neck-Collars
or Yellow Wing-Tags are from the Ontario Reintroduction Efforts.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Neck Collars are Commonly used in the United States and throughout North America.
Wing Tags, as well as Collars, are commonly used in Canada.

Red, Green and Yellow Collars are most often used for Trumpeter Swans.
While Gray, Black and Blue Collars are most often used for Tundra Swans.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

If a Wild Swan Stops on your Pond or Lake or River..
Try to take a Photo of the Collar or Wing Tag for the Numbering Code.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Marker Information is Needed in Addition to carefully Describing the Date,
Location, Number and Age ( Adult = White Feathers, Cygnet = Gray Feathers)
Numbers of other Marked or Unmarked Swans in the Group.
Notes on Behavior are Appreciated as well.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

All Wild Marked Swans should be Reported to the USGS Bird Banding Lab.
The Bird Banding Lab has an easy Online Site for you to Report a Marked Bird.

USGS – Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL)
https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eesc/science/bird-banding-laboratory

Bird Banding Laboratory Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road Laurel, MD 20708

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Silver Leg Band can rarely be Read on a Live Swan
but can provide Valuable Information when a Dead Swan is found.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Be sure to Note your Name and Contact Data.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

This Young Male Trumpeter Swan stayed at a Local River Access for Months.
He became an Attraction. Every Day People would Stop to Visit.
He was Fed a Steady Diet of Bread and Corn..
One Afternoon he went to a Small Island in the River for a Nap.
He Never Woke Up.. He was Barely Two Years Old.

*************************************************

WHY do some Swans have Large Color and Number Coded Neck Collars ??

ID Leg Banding for Swans

These Neck Collars are Color Coded and Numbered by Location.

I REALLY Dislike the Neck Collars..
I would Worry ALL the time that it was Getting TOO Tight and Choking them.
These are Used Mostly in Areas where DNR and ReEstablishment Programs
are Studying Swans that will Live Wild and Free.. To Check Population Disbursement..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I would be Uncomfortable with these Neck Collars..
They Look like they MIGHT Restrict Swallowing.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

I have been Assured that these Young Swans are Doing OK..
The Collars MUST Remain on them.. A State DNR Requirement.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Then there is WINTER… Water Freezing Into the Neck Collar onto Feathers.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

This Icy Collar has to be VERY Annoying.

ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

This Trumpeter has a Bright Neck Collar and a Matching Leg Band.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

In England the Method Employed is to Mark ( or “Ring” ) Individual Swans
with Uniquely Numbered Leg Rings so that they may be Identified and Studied.

ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans
ID Leg Banding for Swans

So… Banding Swans is Not a Simple Topic.. We Try to Keep it Simple.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

There are Numerous WebSites to Read about Banding Wild Birds and Swans..
All Information has Value..

******************************************************

Below are From my Notes and Searches for Other GOOD Ideas
for IDENTIFYING Cygnets and Swans.
I Decided None of these were Workable for Our Cygnets/Swans.

I did a Bit of Reading about these Colored Spiral Poultry Bands.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The Spiral Rings might be Workable for Young Cygnets.
But, the Largest Rings are Too Small for Mature Adult Swans.

The more Solid Round Rings are not Large Enough for Mature Cobs..
The Largest Turkey Spiral Bands are NOT Large Enough..
Most Rings Only Go to Size #16.
Mature Cobs NEED a Ring at LEAST 1 – 1/2 Inches.

The Simple Cable Ties are Flexible and Conform Better to the Shape of a Swan’s Leg..

********************************************************

There are Several Websites that Offer Aluminum Bands.. which might Work.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

Different Types of Metal-Aluminum Bands need a Special Tool for Proper Closure.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

**********************************************************

I Found these Colored Wrist Bands.. These might be Workable..

ID Leg Banding for Swans

**********************************************************

Several Years Ago.. I Called the Company Below..
At that Time I could not Find any Band that was Better then the Basic Cable Tie.
New Product are being Developed. It does not Hurt to Check what is New..

NATIONAL BAND & TAG COMPAMY Phone: 1 (859) 261-2035.
International Identification INC
721 York St, PO Box 72430 Newport, KY 41072-0430
They were Happy to Help – Made Suggestions.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

We Discussed using Metal Livestock Ear “Tags.”
Clipping these into the Wing Skin of Cygnets Weighing at Least One Pound..
Should be OK for a Swans Up to 25-30 Pound.

ID Leg Banding for Swans

The More I Thought about these.. How would anyone Know
to Look through the Wing Feathers for the Tags.. ???

************************************************************

*********************************************************

There are a FEW Places – Zoos and Major Parks that are Using the MicroChips.
The Same UnderSkin Chips used for Cats and Dogs.

To Check these MicroChip you Need a Chip Scanner..
These are Not Very Practical for the General BackYard – Farm Swans.
********************************************************************************************

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.