Also available in Notecard Assortment Pack #AST-503
swans were originally brought to North America from Europe to
populate lakes on private estates in New York. Wild mute swans
can now be found along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to
Virginia and in the Great Lakes region.
mute swan characteristically swims with its long neck in a graceful
s-shaped curve and its bill pointed downward, unlike the more
upright posture of other swan species. On its forehead, at the
base of its bill, is a prominent black knob. Inappropriately
named, the mute swan makes a small barking type sound when calling
its young and hisses when angry. Occasionally it makes a trumpet-like
there are exceptions, mute swans usually mate for life. The pen
(female) and the cob (male) share nest building and egg sitting
responsibilities. Their large bulky nests, which are three to
four feet across, are built near water or on floating vegetation.
The nests are made of grasses and reeds and lined with soft down.
often carry small cygnets (young) on their backs. From there,
cygnets can quickly move under a parents wings for warmth
or protection. Offspring are strongly protected by their parents
until the following breeding season. Cygnets will normally live
with flocks of other immature swans for the next two years. Mute
swans have been known to live 50 years in captivity and 19 years
in the wild.
Text © 1996 Dianne Harrah, Drawing ©
1996 Bill Harrah