mute swan is a large ornamental bird introduced to the Hudson River Valley
in the nineteenth century.
Mute swans were brought to North America from Eurasia (eastern Europe
and Western Asia) because of their beauty and quiet demeanor.
Mute swans thrive in the bay and river systems, with smaller populations
occurring on inland lakes and ponds.
Mute Swans are easily distinguished from snow geese and native swans by
their orange bills and snow white bodies. They are significantly larger
on average at 11 kg (25 lb) compared to the tundra swan weighing 5 kg
The mute swan can be found from Maine to Michigan with large concentrations
occurring in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River watershed. Mute swans
first appeared in Pennsylvania in the 1930s, and by the late 1990s were
found in 10 of the state's 67 counties.
swans are very aggressive and extremely territorial. Cobs (males) have
been known to protect up to a six-acre area surrounding their nests in
ponds, lakes, and marshes. A mating pair of mute swans will often remain
year round at their established territory. These individuals have been
known to kill geese and act aggressively toward humans in their area.
The mute swan consumes large amounts of aquatic vegetation as part of
their diet. The loss of submerged aquatic vegetation can be devastating
to the small invertebrates and to the fish that rely on it for food. Mute
swans are also threatening biodiversity through aggressive competition
with native waterfowl.
Population management and control decisions for the mute swan are held
to the individual states. Mute swans are not protected in Pennsylvania.
The following control methods may be used after obtaining a permit: egg addling, culling, and euthanasia. Public reaction to the eradication of the swans has been mixed. The beauty
and grace of the animals sometimes overpowers the destructive behavior
to the unfamiliar observer.”
MORE INFORMATION ON THE MUTE SWAN