Thursday, February 23, 2017
Wetland's Edge Park, American Canyon, California, USA
Member of the Duck, Goose, and Swan Family
★The National Bird of Denmark★
§A Bevy of Swans§
~true bird fact~ Mute Swans are not native to the United States and are considered a widely disliked invasive species. All Mute Swans in the states are descended from birds brought from overseas to decorate estates, zoos, and parks. They eat a ton of aquatic plants, making survival more difficult for other waterbirds, and are exceptionally aggressive, often attacking humans and pets. The attacks are no joke either, these are very big, strong birds, and a wing-beat is strong enough to break a person's arm. A quick google search was able to confirm that they have killed, but couldn't establish in what numbers.
~alternative bird fact~ Not so fast, say several advocacy groups. There are disputes about whether or not Mute Swans could actually be native to the US in some fashion (flying over from Russia, perhaps). "Save The Mute Swans" presented fossil evidence to this effect to the US Department of the Interior, but their claim was rejected. Mute swans continue to be the subject of culling efforts or even a kill-on-site species, especially on the West Coast, where they have not established themselves as fully.
~true bird myth~ The phrase 'swan song', comes from the Mute Swan, who is fairly quiet, although not silent, throughout his life (this is where his name comes from). The legend says that this bird is silent up until the moment of his death, at which point he sings an unbelievably beautiful song before expiring. Poignant stuff.
~true bird history~ Insanely, all Mute Swans are owned by the Queen of England. They were "Claimed by the Crown" in the 12th century and the ownership is retained to this day, although it's not really used for much other than some weird annual Swan ceremony.
~haven't had enough true bird facts yet?~ This is also the lead character in The Ugly Duckling.