Exterminate All Swans by 2025

Female Pen (left) Male Cob Mute Swan ©Kim Smith 2012Female (left) and Male Mute Swans at Niles Pond

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s war on swans includes gassing, shooting, and oiling eggs on nests to prevent them from hatching. Their stated goal is to eliminate all 2,200 Mute Swans in the state of New York by the year 2025.

Mute Swan Manky Mallard Nile Pond Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2012Mute Swan and Manky Mallard

Reasons cited are that the swans aggressively defend their young, they attack other waterfowl, and destroy habitat.

Audubon New York and the NYSDEC plan to put forth their agenda to the New York citizenry with their education campaign.

Mute swans were introduced in the previous century to decorate parks and estates. Today, exotic species receive a great deal of attention and generate much concern. Oftentimes information around exotics is too simplistic. Some invasions are life-threatening, but they do not often set off an extinction. They can even spur the evolution of new diversity and strengthen an existing species.

I’ve read contrary opinions, and observed the opposite, to the reasons given for the swan’s extermination. There are a number of issues to consider. Where do our readers stand on this developing story? What have been your observations and experiences when encountering a swan?

Read the complete article here.

Mute Swan Niles Pond Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Mute Swan ~ Cygnus olor

About Kim Smith

Currently creating documentary films about the Monarch Butterfly, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, and Gloucester's Feast of St. Joseph. Landscape designer for the Gloucester Harbor Walk Gardens. Designer, lecturer, author, illustrator, photographer. Visit my blog for more information about my landscape and interior design firm- kimsmithdesigns.wordpress.com. Good Morning Gloucester daily contributor. Author/illustrator "Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden"
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19 Responses to Exterminate All Swans by 2025

  1. wendy says:

    They are utterly gorgeous and graceful. That is just horrifying and incredibly disturbing that this is being planned. They will have a fight on their hands from animal lovers.
    What a sad commentary on humans.

  2. PV says:

    This is the state that was shooting snowy owls at the airport until they were told that at Logan the owls were trapped and relocated. What a good idea!

    As to the swans, I don’t have any knowledge about the problems with them but exterminating them seems a bit extreme.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Based upon the NYTimes article, it seems as though the swans are a nuisance in mainly just two areas, Long Island and in Rochester, around the Lake Ontario area. Why not relocate the swans to outside areas interested in hosting these beautiful creatures?

      I would love to hear from anyone who lives on a local pond/marsh who has observed the swans over a period of time. Have you noticed any significant changes to your pond/salt marsh?

      The greatest threat to wetlands is phragmites (Phragmites australis) not swans. I would think that all resources would be devoted to controlling phragmites, which destroys native habitat. Without native habitat, there won’t be any shore birds.

  3. Judy B says:

    It speaks to the worst in human nature — as well as to the detriment of nature. Such an extreme is so unnecessary. These beautiful birds do not need to be exterminated.
    Is that the best idea, which supposedly intelligent human beings, can come up with? Really?!
    I am appalled.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Agreed Judy, appalling.

      Also, not very rational or effective because swans move around from body of water to body of water. I would think they’d have a fight from other states if say for example NYorkers killed some New Jersey swans that just happened to fly over to NY to feed for the day.

  4. mark says:

    Get rid or them along w canadian geese. useless!!!

  5. Please City of Gloucester reseach and do not allow this to happen!!! The swans and Niles Pond are God given AND one of the most beautiful NATURAL Habitats in your state so PROTECT IT!!!
    I grew up on Eastern Point and my most treasured memories are at that pond. Do you have a conservation/preservation society for it?
    I live at and on Mirror Lake,NH. We have no beautiful swans as part of our natural habitat but i would bring them here before killing them.. . . . . . . joanne pagnotta billings

    • Kim Smith says:

      As witnessed by the Snowy Owl relocation plan at Logan, I don’t think people in Massachusetts (and especially Gloucester) would allow such a plan, no matter how much money is spent to mis-educate people.

      From an observer’s point of view I will say this, even thought it is contrary to what is often claimed:

      Swans are deep divers and will pull up vegetation from the bottom of the pond, which feeds ALL the native smaller dabbling ducks feeding alongside the swans.

      Swans feed peaceably with other waterfowl. Occasionally, the swans will ruffle their feathers at a mallard that acts a little too pesky. The mallard will swim away for second and quickly return for the “good stuff” the swan has brought to the surface.

      This symbiotic feeding seems especially beneficial to the native waterfowl during the winter months, when ponds are frozen and there may often only be a small little open patch of water for the all the ducks to feed from.

      More often than at ponds, I see swans feeding at seaweed along the shore’s edge and in shallow ocean water .

      Swans act aggressively towards people when their nests or young are perceived as being threatened, which seems perfectly logical and natural to me. My experience is that they have given me fair warning when I have inadvertently come upon a nesting site.

  6. I best me making for the hills, then, hadn’t I? Aren’t there bigger problems out there… why YES, yes there are!

    • Judy B says:

      There may be bigger problems…… yes. But even small ones can’t be overlooked, especially when the extermination of wildlife is involved. Birds who are harmless?! Why exterminate them?. Enjoy their beauty & leave them alone.

  7. Judy B says:

    By the way: well said & explained, Kim!
    Each species plays a part in nature’s food web.

  8. Dave Moore says:

    Love the color’s here and the contrast of the birds with blue back drop post card material for sure thank it is all about balance for sure :-)

  9. Pingback: Exterminate All Swans by 2025 | Kim Smith Designs

  10. joe muse says:

    Absolutely Not, i believe they were here first. Just had a beautiful Black Swan with a bright red beek swimming around outside my house an omen for Valentines day .

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