The mute swan, its status, behavior, and history in the U. K

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Edited by: Matthew C. Perry


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For many years the mute swan has been considered a royal bird. It is a prominent resident throughout the United Kingdom (U.K.), often found on the inland waterways. Some people consider it to be a nonmigratory native bird because it doesn't tend to move large distances and doesn't often venture far from freshwater. A mute swan may often live out its life cycle in the same river valley in which it hatched. Over the last 30-40 years, a large amount of research has been carried out on their life cycle, behavior, and mortality caused by such factors as lead poisoning from fishing weights. Throughout the U.K., there are a number of areas where mute swans may be found in large numbers, including (1) the River Thames (which passes through London), (2) Slimbridge Wetlands Center, (3) Berwick-upon- Tweed (the second largest mute swan colony in Britain), and (4) Abbotsbury Swannery (the worlds only managed swan colony). This last site is a truly unique area, and each year it often has over 150 nesting pairs producing between 2-12 eggs per nest. The management is minimal, and the site is ideal for their requirements because it is close to a number of freshwater sources, and has good nesting sites and large quantities of eelgrass Zostera marina and widgeon grass Ruppia maritima, their preferred food sources. The Swannery is located on the south coast of England at the western end of the Fleet Lagoon, a micro-tidal estuary, which borders the English Channel.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The mute swan, its status, behavior, and history in the U. K
Year Published 2004
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description vii, 59
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Mute swans and their Chesapeake Bay habitats: proceedings of a symposium
First page 38
Last page 43