A couple weeks ago, I was in Lakeland, FL and saw several Mute Swans in Lake Morton. Make no mistake about it, these are beautiful creatures and a picture of grace. As a photographer, I was delighted to see them and photograph them. I mean, is it possible to take a bad photo of such a beautiful bird?
On the other hand, Mute Swans were introduced into the U.S. over a hundred years ago as decorative birds in parks and estates, but escaped swans have now formed breeding populations that are growing in the U.S. They are a non-native, invasive species, and their population growth threatens the habitat for native species of waterfowl. For instance, in the Chesapeake Bay, Mute Swans are depleting submerged aquatic vegetation beds, and this hinders efforts to restore native species that depend on submerged aquatic vegetation. They also compete with other native species for food and resources.
Fortunately, we do have two native species of swans in the U.S., the Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, and they are beautiful creatures as well. So while I admit that the Mute Swan is a beautiful bird and I'm glad to have photos of them, I'd much rather see Trumpeter and Tundra Swans in the wild.
I've been finding free-flying and breeding Mute Swans out here in the intermountain west. When I report them on eBird or on a listserv, they magically disappear within a couple days. Many of the natural resources and fish and game people monitor online for them and then send a crew out to "remove" the invasive Mute Swans. I'm still not sure how I feel about it...I see the point from both sides.ReplyDelete
Yea, I do too. It's not their fault we brought them over.ReplyDelete