The Mute Swan of the Pacific Northwest
Mute Swans are large birds that are capable of flight but prefer not to fly. Male swans are called cobs, female swans are pens, and young swans are known as cygnets. The mute swan has a long curved neck and an orange bill with a black knob at the base.
Mute Swans are about 1.5 meters long, with a wingspan of over 2 meters. They are found all over BC Coastal Region. Mute swans inhabit ponds, lakes, marshes, rivers and estuaries. Mute swans eat marine vegetation, grass, insects, mollusks, worms, small fish and frogs. They use their long necks to forage beneath the water’s surface for food.
They have no real voice but they are capable of making snorting sounds and hissing. These large birds are usually calm, but can become aggressive when threatened. They are very capable of defending themselves and their territories with their large wings, beaks and necks.
They are able to breed at around three years old and they mate for life. A breeding pair will build a nest at the edge of the water out of dried grass, reeds and other plant matter.
Although the female does most of the nest building, the male assists with collecting nesting materials and egg incubation, up to 7 eggs will be laid in April or May.
Mute swan eggs take around 40 days to hatch. The newly hatched cygnets are a small grayish brown bundle of fluff.
Mute swans are good parents, taking good care of the young and they can sometimes be seen with very young cygnets riding on their backs.
Mute Swans are one of the most beautiful birds on The BC Coast. Its always a pleasure to observe them in the wild.