Mute Swan
 Photo

General description.

With wings arched over its back, the "Mute Swan" holds its graceful neck in a curve as it moves smoothly over the water, unlike the "Whistling" or "Tundra Swan", which holds his neck straight up. These birds were introduced from Europe into the northeastern United States in the late 19th Century.

Juvenile appearance.

Cynets are similar, but dingy-brown, becoming whiter with age. Their bills are dark grayish-black.

Flight pattern.

The "Mute Swan" is one of the heaviest flying birds. Their wings make a loud whirring sound in flight.

Breeding habits.

Although this bird can be tame, especially to those who feed it daily, breeding pairs are highly aggressive and will defend the nest and young against all comers, using powerful wings and strong bills to drive away other waterfowl and even humans.

Calls or song.

As its name implies, the "Mute Swan" is usually silent, but when provoked, utters a hissing and barking sound. The loud trumpeting call is rarely heard.

Population and distribution.

The "Mute Swan" is a resident, and most common in southern New England, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. They feed on a wide range of vegetation, both submerged aquatic plants, which they reach with their long necks, and by grazing on land. The food commonly includes agricultural crop plants such as oilseed rape and wheat. Feeding flocks in the winter may cause significant crop damage, often as much through trampling with their large webbed feet, as through direct consumption. The "Mute Swan" is protected in most of its range. It is often kept in captivity outside its natural range, as a decoration for parks and ponds, and escapes have happened.

Nesting habits.

"Mute Swans" nest on large mounds, that they build with waterside vegetation and feathers, in shallow water on islands in the middle, or at the very edge of a lake, coastal lagoon or bay. They are monogamous and often reuse the same nest each year, restoring or rebuilding it as needed. Here are laid four to six gray or blue-green eggs
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