Mute Swans of Stanley Park and Lost Lagoon

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Most people who frequent my blog have probably come to notice I take photos of the local birds we have near where I live, particularly around Lost Lagoon. One of the more popular species of birds that people will watch along the edges of Lost Lagoon would be the Mute Swans. These large, white ‘Royal’ looking birds are not native to North America either! In fact, you can see them all year round here at Lost Lagoon and Beaver Lake in Stanley Park.

The most interesting fact about these large birds, for me anyway, is that their wings are clipped. Well technically there is a tendon that has been clipped so that the Mute Swans cannot fly away. They can still flap their wings and get above the water, but they cannot leave the area by flight. Some people will see this as being bad, and others will not care too much.

Mute Swan

According to the Stanley-Park-Swans.com the original Mute Swans were introduced back in 1889 as a gift from England. Currently, from my observations while on my walks around the lagoon, there are at least 4 pairings.

Mute Swan Eggs

If you have walked around Lost Lagoon in the recent months you probably have noticed some temporary fencing that has been put into place around some sections of the lagoon. These temporary fenced off areas are where the Mute Swans have been nesting. There are at least 4 nests along the shores of the lagoon, but as of this post 3 of them have been abandoned. The fencing has been put up into place by the various volunteers to help protect the swans while they nest. When I talked to one volunteer they mentioned it was to keep away dogs and some of the other predators such as Raccoons. Though if you have seen the Raccoons at Lost Lagoon, they can easily swim in the water and access the nests that way. There have been reports, from last year, that off-leash dogs have attacked the nests as well and that previous cygnets have been killed.

Cygnets or Sygnets

You Looking At Me?

Cygnets are baby swans. I found that out recently as I have been waiting for any of the Mute Swan eggs to hatch. Though the outcome hasn’t looked great thus far. Out of the 3 nests that have been abandoned I have only ever seen 1 cygnet. They are pretty cute too, the Mute Swan variety are fluffy off-white with black beaks. They are also curious little guys too as the one pictured above would come right up to me to see what I was up to. The mother Mute Swan saw no threat from me and just watched as I took photos.

Mute Swans Mother and Baby

Yesterday I found the same Cygnet with the parents in close proximity too. I just sat on a rock and took photos for a while. He (or she) has grown pretty quick and I am glad to see him (or her) still around as well.

Mute Swan Cygnet

I am hoping that the 4th nest produces some more cygnets. I know the Ecological Society of Stanley Park would also be excited if more cygnets survived as well. Though as one person has mentioned, why would they not incubate the eggs themselves to help ensure a higher survival rate and then put them back into the lagoon among their parents? Perhaps it has to do with the way cygnets are raised and they want a more natural way of life? Who knows? It will be interesting if there are more Mute Swans present in the lagoon though.

What are your thoughts?

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Filed under: Local News, Outdoors
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