Birds of Cape Ann: The Majestic Mute Swan

Mute Swan taking flight -2 ©Kim Smith 2014The extraordinarily powerful wings and torso of the Mute Swan ~ click to view larger

The above photo is a lucky capture as I was actually filming the Gadwalls behind the swan. When the swan began to lift out of the water I quickly turned my attention toward it. The first two photos are the same; the first is cropped, the second uncropped so that you can see the tremendous scale of the swan’s body and wings in relation to its environment. The Mute Swan is the second heaviest waterfowl, second only to the Trumpeter Swan. In observing swans, I marvel in nature that a creature this heavy can soar majestically through the clouds and swim so gracefully through water.

Mute Swan taking flight ©Kim Smith 2014

Mute swans feed primarily on submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation and a small percentage of their diet also includes frogs, small fish, and insects. Because swans feed in deep water they do not compete with smaller waterfowl such as ducks. It is thought that food is made more readily available to ducks because the swans do not eat all the food they pull up. This seems logical and factual from my own observations at our local ponds and marshes. I very often see a wide range of waterfowl congenially feeding with the Mute Swans.

Swan food winter ©Kim Smith 2014Mute Swan feeding on submerged vegetation at Niles Pond

Note ~ Mute swans, which are a nonnative species, do compete directly for food with North American native Trumpeter Swans, in regions where Trumpeter Swans are indigenous (Trumpeter Swans are not native to Cape Ann).

For more photos, information, and video see previous GMG posts about the Mute Swan:

Where Do Swans Go in Winter?

Vibrant Throbbing Wingbeats

Niles Pond or Brace Cove

*   *   *

Birds of Cape Ann: Divers or Dabblers and the Green-winged Teal

Birds of Cape Ann: Buffleheads

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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10 Responses to Birds of Cape Ann: The Majestic Mute Swan

  1. Kate says:

    As beautiful as the mute swans are, they can be very dangerous, especially during breeding season. They are very protective, and as you noted, very powerful. A dog or a kayaker straying too close to the nest could be attacked. They have been known to kill dogs and upend kayaks and canoes.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Thank you so much Kate for the reminding our readers that swans can be dangerous, especially during breeding season! My pooch Rosie and I were photographing around a marshy bank and I didn’t realize that there was a swan nest nearby. We must have been fairly close because a male swan very aggressively chased us back down the path!

  2. Terry says:

    Excellent shots. Beautiful Swans.

  3. Dave Moore says:

    Beautiful here the sounds, music – of swan, crow/raven :-) If I recall as young lad there was a train tunnel heading over toward rockport on the line…

  4. Pingback: Mute swan feeding, video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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