Mute Swan Photo and Information
Mute Swans have been raised for centuries in Britain for food, and one colony has been raised since the 1400s. Swans were marked as to their ownership - and any unmarked bird became instant property of the royal family. There was even a Royal Swanherd whose job it was to manage and keep track of all swan marks and ownership. Since the bird was so popular, people found uses for all of its body parts, from writing with their feathers to making whistles from their bones.
A swan made for quite a feast, and was incorporated into the famous Twelve Days of Christmas, with its "Seven Swans a-Swimming". Its beauty and loyalty made it the subject of many paintings, poems, and stories.
Mute swans are large white birds with an orange bird, and a graceful, curved neck. They eat mostly vegetation, sometimes also eating insects and small fish. They tend to lay around 5 eggs a year, incubating them for just over a month. Young swans are called cygnets. They will fly after 2 months and by the next year they have launched out on their own. They can live up to 20 years in the wild.
Once a swan pair establishes their territory, they will defend it with great passion and return to it year after year. With the birds reaching up to 25 pounds, they can threaten most other wildlife in the area and can even harass humans.
For a while lead shot and lead weights from hunting and fishing became a threat to swan populations, but now most areas have banned both and swan populations have rebounded.
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